When 45-year-old Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he chose to focus on living rather than dying. As a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pausch was asked to deliver a “last lecture.” This well-known campus tradition allowed professors to share worldly wisdom with students as if, hypothetically, they were dying and had one last lecture to give.
The only difference in Pausch’s case is that Pausch really was dying, a fact that only motivated him more. He delivered his last lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” on Sept.18, 2007, to a packed McConomy Auditorium.
Pausch began by sharing several of his boyhood dreams, some which he had achieved and others he hadn’t. He described the importance of having dreams and how anyone can still learn a lot by reaching for those dreams, even if they don’t always succeed. He shared the values, learned through experience, which he hoped to pass on to others: integrity, honesty, character, hard work, laughter and gratitude.
Pausch’s last lecture received a great deal of praise and attention. It became a viral YouTube hit, and in October 2007, he presented an abridged version on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He turned the lecture into a book by the same name, which quickly became a best-seller. Readers were deeply moved by the book’s portrayal of Pausch’s lifelong philosophy and the way it revealed the ultimate source of his motivation—his three young children.
Randy Pausch passed away July 25, 2008, but his voice lives on in the recorded lecture and his book. He continues to motivate us all by encouraging us to never give up on our childhood dreams—a source of inspiration that can never run dry.
Motivation. Pass It On!
This billboard about Motivation features Randy Pausch (1960-2008); professor of computer science.
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Pass It On®
Debbie Lee Frankenthaler Gaskin from Savannah Georgia FEBRUARY 22, 2020
A great lecture and book!
I believe the University's "Last Lectures" were created for professors about to retire.
Check the book.
Katie from Somewhere NOVEMBER 8, 2018
WHOO HOO! You go dude!
zACH TN from TENNESEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE JANUARY 12, 2018
awesome : )
Wilson from India AUGUST 12, 2016
Lakyn from North Carolina OCTOBER 5, 2015
If I can be half as inspirational as he was, I will consider myself a success.
Bob from Virginia JULY 15, 2014
Saw this billboard on I-40 in North Carolina this weekend. His story still inspires me to this day
Calvin from Dayton, Ohio NOVEMBER 19, 2013
I saw this billboard while on a trip to Yellowstone. And i saw it and was instantly inspired to live my life without fear of how it will end.
Honor Griffin from 10 Dilts lane SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
Randy Pausch is a bestseller auther
Moved by this story from CT FEBRUARY 4, 2013
We are all for you, Randy!
Jenna from NYC JANUARY 8, 2013
Someday I hope to be as motivating as he is to me. I really enjoyed hearing about his life and will hope to motivate others as he did to me!
anonymous from classified DECEMBER 6, 2012
there are none of these bill boards in Canada! I have not seen a single one. ever! please put some in the province with the least tax!!!! you must!
Carla from Manhattan, NY AUGUST 19, 2012
He is a true hero and is an incredible inspiration!
Julie B. from Anacortes, WA SEPTEMBER 12, 2011
If only we could all live the way Randy lived. No regrets, grateful, inspirational, loving life every minute, and sharing that love with so many people via his lecture and then his book. A true hero.
Alice V. from Boise ID AUGUST 26, 2011
I just heard about him a few days ago, I haven't read the book, I just saw the billboard. But I read all the comments, and I think I understand what he talked about. I'll buy the book as soon as I possibly can!! I'm so excited!!
Christian from Connecticut JUNE 25, 2011
One of the most inspiring persons to give a lecture and made me change how I view life. Thanks Randy!
Raghuram from Coimbatore, India JUNE 14, 2011
The strength and character that Randy Pausch displayed is an inspiration to us all. Today, I asked my son to see The Last Lecture...and he loved it. Generations to come will be inspired by him. He will live in our hearts forever.
Brittan Auletto from Philadelphia, PA MARCH 1, 2011
This story really touched my heart because of the amount of strength and courage from this individual. He is an inspiration to us all..
Shannon R. from Texas JANUARY 8, 2011
I saw this on youtube months before I found out my 8 yr old son was diagnosed with cancer. I was amazed at his love of life and strength. Now we are told my sons diagnosis is terminal. I see the strength in my son that Randy had. Randy lives on.
jj.l from America JANUARY 6, 2011
I think that quote is touching it inspires me to write a book myself..... while I'm still living.
Kali L from Port St. Lucie Florida OCTOBER 4, 2010
He is one of my biggest heroes!
Elise W. from Glendale, AZ JUNE 13, 2010
What a marvelous inspiration for all of us. As a breast cancer survivor, I can appreciate his message.
Georgia F. from Alanta MAY 20, 2010
This is a motivating story and I hope everyone has and follows their dream.
Marie M. from Rochester, NY APRIL 29, 2010
I used to pass this one every day on the way to work. It gave me motivation for day. I was sad when it changed.
A.D. from W. Springfield, MA MARCH 22, 2010
In 2008, over the course of four months, I lost my father and my wife and I would like to know where to find the courage that he had, at this time that I really need it.
Deana C from Bellevue, WA FEBRUARY 12, 2010
It's something we never talk about in this day and time. Gratitude. Love. Death. The circle of life.
Ashley C. from Philadelphia, PA JANUARY 28, 2010
I'm glad I get to see this billboard every time I go to school. His words are amazing and help me remember to keep trying.
Casey B from Port Murray, NJ JANUARY 3, 2010
Randy was so inspiring. I am happy that I was able to see his "last lecture" on television. You can learn a lot of this man.
Kate A from Penn Manor HIgh School DECEMBER 16, 2009
I am never again going to complain about something little and stupid, when this man was dying and didn't complain.
Patrick M. from Indio Hills, CA. DECEMBER 15, 2009
I'm only on page 30 of Randy's Last Lecture and have all ready prayed that I forget how to complain about anything ever again.
Ron K. from Beautiful Michigan DECEMBER 10, 2009
These billboards are always so inspirational from so many facets of life. As a long term blood cancer patient (more than two decades and ongoing), I personally find every year to be more rewarding than the previous, life more enjoyable than ever, an inner and enriched awareness of all facets of life have become instilled in me and I continue to grow far beyond where most healthy people could ever see themselves. Randy got it and more people need to too! Seek out these billboards and let them inspire you to become a better you and in return you will find such inner rewards never thought possible. Thank you values.com
Christina G from Cleveland, Ohio NOVEMBER 2, 2009
I have seen 4 of these billboards so far. They are a constant reminder of hope and more importantly, inspiration. Seeing the billboards remind me that life can always become more challenging...it's all how you choose to deal with it. They truly are inspiring! Thanks and I'll be looking for more.
Mark T. from Pittsburgh, PA OCTOBER 15, 2009
The most important lesson he taught me is that the only thing that can stop you is you. I miss him, but I'm glad to know that his secret is out. That's all I could ask for.
Gerben Groothuis from Almelo, The Netherlands OCTOBER 12, 2009
"The wall is there for a reason", from his lecture is what stuck with me the most. It is the only slogan I have ever printed and hung up in my study. It's still there! Randy is an enormous guy!
Lucila C from Baton Rouge OCTOBER 6, 2009
Wow, to see Randy every week when I drive down the Bayou in Louisiana to ride my horse is always inpirational for many reasons. First of all, I too was diagnosed with unresectable stage III pancreatic cancer at the end of 2006. I also went to CMU and graduated as a Chem E. And most importantly, my life was changed from my heart out because of my diagnosis. So much joy, in spite of the fear of dying, has blossomed in my life. I've learned to submit myself, to feel life, and to take in every breath in gratitude. I pray that I may help others when they are diagnosed with such a difficult cancer, it's the least I can do to give back the immeasureable love that was extended to me while I was being treated at MD Anderson. Randy's gift will be a legacy and a continued inspiration to us all.
Collin, S from Detriot,MI SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
This is one of my favorite billboards! it gives me a boost of energy every time i pass it!
Kristin K. from Milwaukee, WI SEPTEMBER 7, 2009
I am a nurse and work in a gastroenterology clinic where we diagnose pancreatic cancer and treat patients who have pancreatic cancer. One of my co-workers recieved this book as a gift and gave us all the idea to recommend this to patients and families with new cancer diagnoses. Randy Pausch is an absolute inspiration to me and to many others and continues to help people every day with and without pancreatic cancer. His principles can be applied to anyone's life. His message is an important one.
Abani S from Denver, CO AUGUST 27, 2009
I knew about him from the ABC's interview. His life is so inspiring! I refer his book to my family members, friends. I wish people try to know him better.
His life inspires people of all ages. His life is a book, yet to be fully studied and analyzed by scholars.
Katrina C. from Huntington Beach, CA JULY 27, 2009
I remember my teacher talked about him like four months before he died. And I saw the billboard on my way to palm springs. I had to write down his name so I could look him up when I got home and I'm happy that i saw it he was a great man.
Lola B. from Oakland, CA JULY 25, 2009
I just saw this billboard in Berkeley, CA... very inspired all over again to watch his lecture on YouTube. I remember the first time I watched it, truly amazing fortitude despite his predicament. That's real living, motivation, inspiration. While we yet live... Pass It On!
Val A. from Lincoln, NE JULY 21, 2009
I just saw this billboard as I was driving, this is one of my favorite. What an inspiration!
Nicollette C from Atlanta, GA JULY 13, 2009
I pass this billboard going to my boyfriend's house. It's so inspiring.
Sheri W. from IN JULY 11, 2009
He is such an inspiration,
I just love your billboards
they are good for the soul..
Keep them coming.
Cyndi M. from Cincinnati, Ohio JULY 6, 2009
I love your new billboards - the are absolutely the best! Is there anyway I could purchase some of the posters? You have already sent me a number of free posters which are proudly displayed in my classroom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Rachel K. JULY 3, 2009
He is the most amazing man in the world,
Michelle D. from West of Chicago JUNE 28, 2009
I love this billboard! I passed it when driving south...I am from the Chicago area. I used my iphone to look up the website....brilliant!
Robert R. from Fort Lauderdale, Florida JUNE 5, 2009
I think about Randy every day and thank him for all that he gave us.
Amy G. from Stockton, CA MAY 23, 2009
I read The Last Lecture and he was an amazing man. I have seen this billboard between seeing customers. It truly inspires me to continue keep positive and play the hand I was dealt.
Wendy V. from Syracuse, NY MAY 16, 2009
I see this billboard everyday on my way home from work. It has inspired me to continue with my dreams and gives me hope. After a long day at work and feeling tired, I see Randy's face and know that I can still achieve many of my dreams.
Sebastian MAY 12, 2009
He was a good man.
Sebastian V. from Jefferson City, MO MAY 11, 2009
I hope to meet him in heaven someday.
Jennifer W from Pasadena, CA MARCH 24, 2009
I read The Last Lecture this summer and was incredibly inspired. As a teacher, I know that attitude is everything, and I just have to keep it positive. Thanks, Randy, for leaving us all this legacy!