Carnegie Mellon University

In taking inspiration from Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture," the University Lecture Series (ULS) is proud to contribute to the life of the mind on the CMU campus through a variety of lectures and performances throughout the academic year.

ULS provides a forum where all members of the community can learn, debate, and engage across disciplinary boundaries on a variety of ideas, topics, and perspectives. Through its various programs, the ULS shares innovative ideas from inspiring thought leaders—people who are creating new fields, breaking molds, and thinking beyond the traditional. 

"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."
—Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Spotlight on Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

A Carnegie Mellon University alumnus and co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center, Professor Randy Pausch was not only a brilliant computer scientist who co-founded Alice, a revolutionary way to teach computer programming, he also inspired countless students in the classroom.   

On Sept. 18, 2007, only a month after doctors told him that he had three-to-six months to live following a recurrence of pancreatic cancer, he presented a lecture called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" to a packed auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University.

Randy gained public fame for delivering what would come to be known as "The Last Lecture," which has been an inspiration for the work of the University Lecture Series as well as other student-focused programming, including parts of CMU's First Year Orientation. 

The moving and often humorous talk recounted his efforts to achieve such childhood dreams as becoming a professional football player, experiencing zero gravity and developing Disney World attractions. In the process, he shared his insights on finding the good in other people, working hard to overcome obstacles and living generously.

While millions worldwide were touched by his highly acclaimed lecture, Randy continued battling pancreatic cancer, and died of complications at the age of 47. In 2009, as part of Homecoming festivities, Carnegie Mellon celebrated the dedication of the Pausch Bridge, which connects one of the university's fine arts buildings, the Purnell Center, with the Gates and Hillman Centers, the home for computer science.