• Birth—October 23, 1960
• Where—Baltimore, Maryland, USA
• Death—July 26, 2008
• Where—Chesapeake, Virginia
• Education—B.S., Brown University; Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon
Randolph Frederick Pausch was an American professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pausch received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University in 1982 and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon in August 1988. Pausch later became an associate professor at the University of Virginia, before working at Carnegie Mellon as an associate professor.
Pausch was born at Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in Columbia, Maryland. After graduating from Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Pausch received his bachelor's degree in computer science from Brown University in May 1982 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in August 1988. While completing his doctoral studies, Pausch was briefly employed at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and Adobe
Pausch was an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1988 until 1997. While there, he completed sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA).
In 1997, Pausch became Associate Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design, at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a co-founder in 1998, along with Don Marinelli, of CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), and he started the Building Virtual Worlds course at CMU and taught it for 10 years. He consulted with Google on user interface design and also consulted with PARC, Imagineering, and Media Metrix. Pausch is also the founder of the Alice software project.
He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. Pausch was the author or co-author of five books and over 70 articles. He also received two awards from ACM in 2007 for his achievements in computing education: the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award and the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education. He was also inducted as a Fellow of the ACM in 2007. The Pittsburgh City Council declared November 19, 2007 to be "Dr. Randy Pausch Day". In May 2008, Pausch was listed by Time as one of the World's Top-100 Most Influential People.
His Last Lecture
Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent a Whipple procedure on September 19, 2006 in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the cancer. He was told in August 2007 to expect a remaining three to six months of good health. He soon moved his family to Chesapeake, Virginia, a suburb near Norfolk, to be close to his wife's family.
He gave "The Last Lecture" speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon. Pausch conceived the lecture after he learned that his previously known pancreatic cancer was terminal. The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk", with a topic such as "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?" The talk was later released as a book called The Last Lecture, which became a New York Times best-seller.
On March 13, 2008, Pausch advocated for greater federal funding for pancreatic cancer before the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.
On June 26, 2008, Pausch indicated that he was considering stopping further chemotherapy because of the potential adverse side effects. He was, however, considering some immuno-therapy-based approaches. On July 24, on behalf of Pausch, a friend anonymously posted a message on Pausch's webpage stating that a biopsy had indicated that the cancer had progressed further than what was expected from recent PET scans and that Pausch had "taken a step down" and was "much sicker than he had been". The friend also stated that Pausch had then enrolled in a hospice program designed to provide palliative care to those at the end of life. Pausch died from at his family's home in Chesapeake, Virginia on July 25, 2008, having moved there so that his wife and children would be near family after his death. He is survived by his wife Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. (From Wikipedia.)
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