Born October 23, 1960, Randy Pausch grew up in Columbia, Maryland before beginning his all too short computer engineering career at Brown University. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, Randy went on to get his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. He then went on to teach computer engineering at several universities including his alma mater.
In September of 2006, Mr. Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst kinds of cancer to deal with. The prognosis is generally regarded as poor; less than 5 percent of those diagnosed are still alive five years after diagnosis. Randy Pausch succumbed to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008.
Before his passing, he left a huge impression on computer science and the world. He was involved in highly envied projects, such as Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (makers of Madden Football and
The Sims). He was also a founder of the program ALICE, Alice is a free and open source object-oriented educational programming language with an integrated development environment. It is implemented in Java. Alice uses a drag and drop environment to create computer animations using 3D models. ALICE was originally designed help teen girls learn to program. All in a 3D programming environment so teens could learn how to create animation to tell a story or play an interactive game while learning introductory computing.
Randy kept an online journal of his fight with cancer located here, http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/news/index.html. A Carnegie Mellon Associate was quoted at http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/beyond/2008/summer/an-enduring-legacy.shtml, “Randy had an enormous and lasting impact on Carnegie Mellon, a brilliant researcher and gifted teacher, he was a key member of our Human-Computer Interaction Institute and co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center. His love of teaching, his sense of fun and his brilliance came together in the Alice project, which teaches students computer programming while enabling them to do something fun – making animated movies and games. Carnegie Mellon – and the world – are better places for having had Randy Pausch in them.”
On his home page, he left his mark to do what he could as he fought the vicious disease himself. “Pancreatic cancer is a hideous disease; I am doing everything possible to raise awareness and research funding. You can support research into curing pancreatic cancer via the Lustgarten foundation, and/or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). A friend of mine has also set up a donations page at: http://www.firstgiving.com/randypausch.”