Facing Death, Games Prof Gives Last Lecture

October 8, 2007 -
Readers of GamePolitics may recognize the name of Carnegie-Mellon University’s Randy Pausch. 

The computer science professor cofounded CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center and directs the Alice software project, a free 3D graphics teaching tool for student programmers.

Pausch also has a design credit for Peacemaker, a highly-regarded serious game about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has been referred to as a game education giant.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal Online, Pausch recently gave what was billed as his “Last Lecture.”  This is a common title for talks given at many colleges around the country.  Basically, professors assume that they will be giving the last lecture of their lives and talk about whatever means the most to them.

Sadly, the last lecture scenario has a more ominous significance for Pausch; he suffers from pancreatic cancer and has only months to live.

Speaking before an audience of 400 students, Pausch received a standing ovation before he even started.

Pausch kept his audience entertained for over an hour with his engaging and personable speaking style.  He spoke about his life, family, career and the lessons he’d learned along the way such as the best way to view setbacks to one's personal goals:
Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.

He discussed lifelong dreams he’d achieved such as designing a Disney theme park ride and experiencing zero gravity. But, he added, helping others achieve their own dreams was even more fulfilling.

One of many amusing anecdotes detailed how he had required his students to create video games without sex and violence.  Although his students all eventually rose to the challenge, Paucsh noted:
You'd be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away.

At the end of the lecture Pausch received another standing ovation.  Obviously, the audience felt he had more than earned it.

Says Pausch on his website:
I am glad this lecture has been received so well. It really was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful to know. But rest assured; I'm hardly unique.

An obviously moved Diane Sawyer interviews Randy Pausch in this Good Morning America video clip:



-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Comments

Re: Facing Death, Games Prof Gives Last Lecture

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video (ted.com) has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie. 

Re: Facing Death, Games Prof Gives Last Lecture

When a company moves the production of goods and services to another country, the investment that companies would otherwise make in the domestic market is transferred to the foreign market.

Re: Facing Death, Games Prof Gives Last Lecture

PC games are created by one or more game developers, often in conjunction with other specialistsand either published independently or through a third party publisher.

I'll keep this man and his family in my thoughts and prayers.

[...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptReaders of GamePolitics may recognize the name of Carnegie-Mellon University’s Randy Pausch.  The computer science professor cofounded CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center and directs the Alice software project, a free 3D graphics teaching tool for student programmers. Pausch also has a design credit for Peacemaker, a highly-regarded serious game about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has been referred to as a game education giant. As reported by The Wall Street Journal Online, Pausch [...]

[...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOne of many amusing anecdotes detailed how he had required his students to create video games without sex and violence. Although his students all eventually rose to the challenge, Paucsh noted:. You’d be surprised how many 19-year-old … [...]

[...] MobileMistress wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOne of many amusing anecdotes detailed how he had required his students to create video games without sex and violence. Although his students all eventually rose to the challenge, Paucsh noted:. You’d be surprised how many 19-year-old … [...]

No Violence?

Okay I've got puzzle games and flight simulators, highly branching conversation games, sim city, myst style investigative/puzzle games, and racing games.

Shit, I just can't think of ways to make those fun\interesting\unique without blatantly ripping of things on the market already.

"i'm hardly unique"

As much as I hate to say it, you don't get many guys like him nowadays.

Maybe a dying professor would be enough to get lawmakers and parents to see the potential that games have?

One can hope.

I doubt it, FngKestrel. The only way would be if he got killed by a video gamer. As for a game without sex or violence, I would make a maze game. I did it high school for my C++ class. No violence but it wouldn't sell a game today.

I'm also a little tired of those news posts.

Cue "you-know-who" not having any respect for cancer-stricken people in 10...9...8...

Man, that sucks. I mean, cancer, what a downer. That's all I have to say, except I wish his family the best.

A good guy, to be sure.

He may not be unique, but people like him are all too rare, and I think the world will miss him.

What an awesome guy :) .

I think abc news covered the "last lecture" in it's entirety and it should be on the net somewhere. Being a Pittsburgher, I heard excerpts on the radio. Excellent speech by an amazingly intelligent guy. It's a damn shame that someone who genuinely made a difference, instead of just preaching or politicking, has to have his life cut short.

I sort-of know what his family must be going through, my Grandma has pancreatic cancer, too. Inoperable, too close to major organs, all the same. However, she admittedly (and she tells me this) has lived a full life. So, not entirely the same.

Hopefully functional links:
http://www.etc.cmu.edu/global_news/?q=node/42
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=362421849901825950&hl=en

@~the1jeffy

Amazing video. Wonderful and nearly made me cry. You almost need to save things like this onto a flashdrive and play it every day you find yourself complaining or unmotivated. A visual and auditory mantra using the examples and words of those who "got it" even if most of us fail to. My tears are not always a hard thing to gather granted but it really hits you. I wonder more and more as they sort of stories are consumed by me if the adage that "the good die young" really isn't more true than we realize.

hopefully he will live long enogh to the one non-violent puzzle game I want. PORTAL.

Um...

I think I'll watch this again.

Just watched the entire thing on ABCnews.com. This man taught me more in one lecture than my entire life so far (22 years, so forgive me if I am just starting out). I would wish him the best but from what I saw he already has the best.

It is rare to even hear about a truely great man. Just watching his last lecture enspired me. I don't know if he or his family will ever come here to see what is being said but I just want to say "Thank you Randy. THank you for being you and enspiring a lowly college student to not give up on my dream of starting a Videogame company."

@Archgabe

I doubt anyone who watched the entire video on ABC or Carnegie Melon's site could go away unaffected. Am I the only one who almost cried themselves when hearing not only what has been done over the years by his crews to help youth find CS/art but also in responding to how people very nearly broke down themselves over the 1hr44min video? If anything can melt even the most dire critic's icy heart to the potential videogames (and the technology behind them) have to help make society smarter (and give children another viable option to the service industry), this video has got to be it. Maybe not making games, but the other lessons gleaned from learning the process of programming.

"And his heart grew three sizes that day..."

Good lecture.

I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer. My prayers are with everyone to has suffered from this disease. There needs to be more research for this cause!
 
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