In Honour of Randy Pausch

I am speechless, a tear running down my cheek. And if you know me, you know how unlikely a situation that is for me – especially the first part. Yet I just watched a video that inspired more emotional responses in me than any I’ve ever seen before.

Randy Pausch

The world lost one of the few true Great Human Beings today – one of those amazing entities that prove some are much further along the evolutionary path than the rest of us. I knew OF Randy Pausch, but didn’t know him. My loss. In a myriad of ways.

In one respect, as an educator and Computer Human Interface pioneer, Randy lived my ‘alternate life’. After a massive selection test at Toronto’s York University almost 30 years ago, the powers that be offered to fund my way through to a PhD in Computer Science if I would agree to stay on and teach at the end of it all.

In those days, a CS PhD was earning $60,000 a year in business, while professors earned $40,000 a year, so the difficulty they had in retaining top talent made it a great deal from their viewpoint. And according to their test results, my greatest skills use would be 1) As a professor, 2) As a computer scientist, and 3) As a marketer or other professional communicator.

Having been out of school for a number of years at that point, working first as a reporter, then moving into advertising, and having spent 3 years as Outside Sales Manager at the Toronto Sun and 2 years at The Globe & Mail, 7 years of University seemed an awfully high price to pay for what I viewed as a boring existence – standing in front of a number of students each day in my corduroy jacket with the leather elbow patches, wanting only to get back to my research and pipe.

Watching Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture gave lie to two of those ideas – first in that he elevated teaching to it’s pinnacle by viewing it as helping others achieve their dreams, and second that I would have made a great professor – having watched and listened to the man as he gave his Last Lecture, I realize I could never have attained the level he functioned at every day.

To have lost the opportunity to ever meet this amazing soul, who died today at only 47, is a travesty, a tragic loss I almost didn’t even know of – SO many thanks to my friend Ken McArthur for forwarding this video on to me.

And to Jai Pausch, Randy’s widow, both Teri & I send our condolences, our hearfelt wishes that you can hold on to all that was wonderful and inspiring in Randy and his life. We cannot fathom the hole his passing has created in your life, and pray that you are stronger than we, and able to continue on and enjoy your life as he would have wanted you to. If you ever find yourself in the Niagara Falls area, please look us up!

I do take great pride in knowing that Teri & I, Ken and Randy all shared the passion for helping others achieve their dreams, albeit in different ways. Randy’s was a much higher calling, being able to help people unlock their mind’s potential to go on to greatness. For Ken and ourselves, our genuinely-felt responsibility to help others has led us to teach people how to be able to live out their dreams, enabling them to be self-funding in a world where economic reality stops so many. To help build the confidence of those gentler souls downtrodden by everyday life gone wrong.

I can only hope when it’s our turn to move on, the legacy we leave behind will be as positive as Randy’s, and that we will have managed to have helped as many people throughout our lifetime as he did in his short tenure here.

Please, take time to watch this video of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. I can’t possibly put into words the effect it had on us – hopefully it will inspire the same in you. And if it does, please invite others to view it – you’ll know who in your circle will enjoy and benefit from it most.

Thank You – to Randy Pausch for all that you gave, to Jai Pausch for sharing him with us, and to YOU, for taking the time to watch the video. May your dreams come true, and may you always live the life that follows your true path.

With love and admiration,

Teri & Doug Champigny.




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