The role Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch played in increasing public support for pancreatic cancer research was honored in a U.S. Senate resolution sponsored by Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
Recognizing November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the resolution credited Pausch's advocacy — which reached millions around the globe through his acclaimed "Last Lecture" speech and then best-selling book — with giving "voice to victims of pancreatic cancer and inspir[ing] people to live life to the fullest." Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Casey said Pausch "lived life to the fullest in every sense of that word, in every sense of that phrase. ...While his life was cut short by pancreatic cancer, his legacy for living is one we should all cherish."
Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who inspired countless students in the classroom and others worldwide, died of complications from pancreatic cancer in July 2008 at the age of 47.
Also a Carnegie Mellon alumnus, Pausch co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center and led researchers who created Alice, a revolutionary way to teach computer programming. He was widely respected in academic circles for a unique interdisciplinary approach, bringing together artists, dramatists and designers to break new ground by working in collaboration with computer scientists.
Pausch was also a pioneer in the development of virtual reality, including creating Carnegie Mellon's popular Building Virtual Worlds class. The annual Building Virtual Worlds Show, which features virtual worlds created by students who took the class, takes place Dec. 3 in McConomy Auditorium.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl proclaimed Nov. 19 as "Randy Pausch Memorial Day." The city honored Pausch on the same day in 2007.