"The Last Lecture" - Randy Pausch Delivers a Lecture on Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (also referred to as "The Last Lecture") was a lecture given by Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Randy Pausch on September 18, 2007 that received a large amount of media coverage, and was the base for The Last Lecture, a New York Times best-selling book co-authored with Wall Street Journal reporter Jeff Zaslow. Pausch had been diagnosed with a terminal pancreatic cancer on September 19, 2006, and had had an unsuccessful pancreaticoduodenectomy procedure performed to try to stop the growth of the cancer the same day. His doctors later told him that he had only three to six months of good health left.

During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage. He also commented on the irony that the "Last Lecture" series had recently been renamed as "Journeys": "I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it." After Pausch finished his lecture, Steve Seabolt, on behalf of Electronic Arts, which is now collaborating with CMU in the development of Alice 3.0, pledged to honor Pausch by creating a memorial scholarship for women in computer science, in recognition of Pausch's support and mentoring of women in CS and engineering.

Professor Pausch's "Last Lecture" has received attention from both the American media, as well recognition from news sources around the world. The video of the speech became an Internet sensation, being viewed over a million times in the first month after its delivery on social networking sites such as YouTube, Google video, MySpace, and Facebook. Randy Pausch gave an abridged version of his speech on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2007. On April 9, 2008, the ABC network aired an hour long Diane Sawyer feature on Pausch entitled "The Last Lecture: A Love Story For Your Life". Four days after his death from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, ABC aired a tribute to Pausch, remembering his life and famous lecture.