Monday, September 08, 2008
Remembering Dr.Randy Pausch
I had not heard of Randy Pausch until, as recently as, the end of July when a friend sent me a link to his famed "Last Lecture." Having heard one of the most inspirational talks ever in recent years, I set out to google Randy Pausch and was stunned to know that he was no more and had passed away on the 25th of July, a victim of pancreatic cancer.
For those who do not know (me included, until a few months ago) who Randy Pausch was, here is a snippet.
He was Carnegie Mellon University's most luminous light ever, simply put! Having started his career as an Assistant and Associate professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Virginia's School, he soon became the Associate Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction and Design, at the Carnegie Mellon University. He created the Alice Software Project and co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon while also working on Virtual Reality Research with Disney Imagineers which, as he put it, was his "dream come true."
However it is not all these long list of important positions and accomplishments alone that made him what he became. It was his uncanny ability to keep things simple and most importantly his humane and extremely positive attitude towards life that made him special. Anyone who has listened to his last lecture will agree with me that his courage is unparalleled. How many people would you know who after being told that they had months to live, would live with a more zealous and energetic spirit and go around telling people to be courageous in what they do?
While at the Oprah Winfrey show he spoke about how important life is and how we as people should make an effort to understand that it is not things but people that we need to attach importance to. He spoke about working towards realizing one's true calling and dream and hence achieving the purpose of life. What was perhaps most inspiring during the show was his display of courage and sign of strength when he went down on the floor, despite his condition and did a few strong willed push-ups and told the world of how strong he was while facing death in the face.
His death was indeed very untimely and a great loss to his family, friends, Carnegie Mellon and millions of people who sought inspiration from his deeds and words. Little wonder that Time magazine named him one of the World's Top-100 Most Influential People.
I'll leave you with what I think has been Randy's best quote ever. It goes thus "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
Do find time to listen to his wonderful words of wisdom, particularly the last lecture, via the following links