July 30, 2008

In memory of Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor whose "last lecture" drew so great a response from people around the world, died last Friday of pancreatic cancer at age 47. Pausch gave a powerful message about how to live life to the fullest when he received the opportunity to address a Carnegie Mellon crowd of friends, mentors, students, and the general public.

I have seen the last lecture on YouTube, read excerpts of the book published this past spring, and last night watched an ABC "Primetime" special with Diane Sawyer featuring interviews with Randy, his wife, and his best friend. (Look for the video on the upper right hand of the page and click on "Remembering Randy Pausch.")

Why am I so fascinated with Randy? He had a personal philosophy -- how to live a joyful, meaningful life. Up until his cancer was discovered, he was probably a normal guy, working, dating, marrying, raising a family. Then he got cancer -- pancreatic cancer is BAD cancer -- and his life changed radically.

Sounds like me, doesn't it? (Except for the parenting part.)

And then Randy had the opportunity to talk to the world, through his connection with Carnegie Mellon University. It's complete serendipity that the YouTube clip gathered such support.

Maybe my blog will reach my small corner of the world with the same philosophy Randy Pausch expressed so eloquently, and which I learned by reading science fiction. As Robert Heinlein wrote in Glory Road, "While we live, let us live!"

May Randy's memory be a blessing to all who knew him and to all who knew of him.


  1. thanks for the post.
    i followed Randy's journey too.
    he did very well and thanks for the video link i hadn't seen those.
    i didn't see the special either.
    not much of a tv nerd :)

    "We can be a people building shelters and nets that provide the nurture for others to take the risks and find the strength to punch through the brick walls confronting them." - my spin on Pausch(-ism)

  2. Jill, I've read your blog regularly for the past year. We hardly know each other (I work for Hadassah and met you back in 2003/4ish) but you continuously teach me lessons in living life to the fullest. Your message is being heard loud and clear - just wanted to let you know! - Rachael Petru Horowitz

  3. Hi Jill,
    I read your blog for many different reasons, 1) I'm triple negative 1 year survivor, and 2) I'm a jewish convert who loves learning more about judaism through your blog! I also have a blog: fightinmycancer.blogspot.com.

    Thank you for your insight!!!

  4. Oops! That's fightingmycancer.blogspot.com. I left out the g in fighting!