Carnegie Mellon University

Spring 2010


Randy Pausch's Son Rallies for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Dylan Pausch, the oldest son of late Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, was on Capitol Hill yesterday to gain support for pancreatic cancer research. His visit came just a few short years after his father visited the Hill to "put a human face on the disease."

Nearly three years ago, Randy Pausch became famous for his "Last Lecture" titled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." At the time of the lecture, Pausch was battling pancreatic cancer.

Following his talk on the Carnegie Mellon Pittsburgh campus, Randy's message became an Internet sensation, with millions of views on YouTube.

Randy also co-wrote a book, "The Last Lecture," with alumnus Jeffrey Zaslow, that was translated in at least 35 languages. 

Randy died July 25, 2008, at the age of 47, but his legacy continues.

Learn more about Randy Pausch >>


Alumna's Paintings Appear in Two Hollywood Films

ricouJoana Ricou, a 2005 graduate of the interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science and the Arts (BSA) Program at Carnegie Mellon University, has her artwork featured in two Hollywood films this year, "Love and Other Drugs" and "She's Out of My League."

"Love & Other Drugs," which will be released in November, stars Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway. Hathaway plays a woman with Parkinson's disease who used to be an artist. Ricou's paintings are cast in the movie as Hathaway's artwork. "She's Out of My League" is a romantic comedy that was released this past March.  Several shots were filmed in the local SUGAR Boutique in Lawrenceville, where Ricou's paintings are featured on the walls.

Ricou's work currently explores two different themes: finding deeper truths in private moments, and exploring the intersection of biology and art. Her work has been exhibited extensively in Pittsburgh, at sites including the Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and the National Aviary. Her work is also featured in private collections across the United States and in Portugal. Ricou's artwork was selected for the cover of an issue of the magazine Neuroscience in 2005. She moved from Lisboa, Portugal, to Pittsburgh in 2000 to study art and biology, and is now living in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Carnegie Mellon recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its BSA program, a joint interdisciplinary program between the College of Fine Arts and the Mellon College of Science.

The BSA program is part of Carnegie Mellon's Interdisciplinary Degree Programs (BXA), which also includes a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA) and Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA). Since their creation, enrollment in BXA programs has grown to more than 100 students.

Pictured above: Ricou's artwork sits in the center of a movie set in Pittsburgh.

Eric Sloss


LEEDing the Way

Aurora L. Sharrard (E'04, '07), director of innovation for the Green Building Alliance, will present Carnegie Mellon with a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) plaque for the recently renovated Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall) at noon, Monday, May 24 in the 217-seat auditorium. The "green" renovation project, completed in summer 2008, included the transformation of Gregg Hall, the creation of a 3,200-square-foot second floor above the auditorium, and the restoration of the building exterior and windows outside the lecture hall. The new space above the auditorium houses the Information Systems Program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS).

The project's green elements include energy efficient lighting, appliances and computers; regionally manufactured materials that contain recycled components; and environmentally friendly paint, coatings, adhesives and sealants. In addition, 60 percent of the construction waste was recycled.

Attending the ceremony will be Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto; H&SS Dean John Lehoczky; Ralph Horgan, associate vice provost for Campus Design and Facility Development; and members of CMU's Green Practices Committee.

Carnegie Mellon now has eight building projects ( certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, the most by any organization in Allegheny County and the most by any college or university in western Pennsylvania.

Bruce Gerson


Student Speaker Shares Message of Keeping Things Interesting

Artist and graduating student Leslie McAhren enjoys creative challenges and celebrates the finding extraordinary in the ordinary. As the student speaker at Carnegie Mellon's 113th commencement ceremony, McAhren celebrated her master's degree in fine arts by discussing extraordinary creative people in her speech, "You, Me and Lifelong Ascent."

"Lifelong ascent is a matter of keeping things interesting ... for yourself.  Changing it up. Keeping it fresh," McAhren said in her speech. "Lifelong ascent is about leading our lives.  Carnegie Mellon has been a wonderful Petri dish: warm in all the right places."

She also touched on the theme of the polymath — someone who is an expert in several fields of study.

"The interesting thing about polymaths is that they seek and generate endless connections across human achievement," McAhren said. "For them, and here at Carnegie Mellon, disciplines know no boundaries. Instead of being annoyed by continuous change, we welcome it. Polymath brains can sense the tectonic shift that precedes a paradigm shift."

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