In 2006, professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with a terminal case of pancreatic cancer. The next year, he stepped in front of an audience of hundreds of students and colleagues to deliver a last lecture called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." Video of the lecture became a phenomenon on the Internet, captivating millions with its upbeat delivery and at-times darkly funny tone, and it was later adapted into a bestselling book and numerous television appearances that reached millions more.
Pausch taught computer science, human-computer interaction and design for two decades at Carnegie Mellon University, where he co-founded its Entertainment Technology Center. He founded the Alice software project -- a free, educational programming language -- and did sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts. As an expert in user interface design, he also consulted with Google and Xerox PARC.
In his last year, Pausch became a passionate spokesperson for the need for pancreatic cancer research.