Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who was asked to give a standard lecture. The lecture was to be one in which he would imagine he was dying and this would be his last chance to speak. However, Randy didn’t have to imagine he was dying – shortly before his lecture, he found out that he really was dying of pancreatic cancer. This video shows the true last lecture Randy Pausch gave in September 2007, just 10 months before he died from his disease.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is the page of the Carnegie Mellon website that contains information about Randy and his last lecture.

Topics for Discussion:

  • Randy was quoted as saying “You can’t control the cards you are dealt, just how you play the hand.” What does this mean to you?
  • Another of Randy’s famous quotes is “Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” Have you ever encountered a “brick wall” in your life?

Take Action:

  • Visit the Amazon website to learn more about Randy’s book, The Last Lecture. Read it and be inspired to live your life to the fullest, just as he did!
  • Visit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website to learn how you can help people with this disease that Randy had.

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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