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Remembering Randy Pausch

July 26, 2008

Posted by Kevin McCurley, Research Team

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Randy Pausch, who taught computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. Randy was well-known by many within the research community, including quite a number of us here at Google. Alfred Spector, our Vice President of Research, was his Ph.D. advisor. Rich Gossweiler, a Senior Research Scientist, was his first Ph.D. student. Several other former colleagues and coauthors (Joshua Bloch, Adam Fass, and Ning Hu) now work here.

All of us strive to make an impact with our research, and Randy was no exception. He will be remembered for his work, but also for his contributions to humanity at large. Millions have watched the video on YouTube from his lecture titled Achieving your Childhood Dreams. The strength of his character was already known to his family, his colleagues, and the broader computer science research community. The courage and optimism that he displayed at the end of his life became inspirational to millions more.

I've seen Randy repeatedly go to bat for what is right. As a leader, he consistently evoked incredible enthusiasm and optimism for the subjects he embraces. Randy had a very human passion about people and not just who they are, but their potential, despite any flaws or obstacles in their way. His contributions will be remembered for generations to come. - Rich Gossweiler

Randy was one of the most vibrant, passionate people I've ever known. His passion was inspirational not only to his family and colleagues, but also, because of his courageous presentations beginning with his well-known Last Lecture, he has influenced millions more. - Alfred Spector

We will miss Randy very much, and remember him fondly.