Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and the tradition there (as in many colleges) was to have a retiring professor deliver a "last lecture" in which he would share whatever wisdom and insights he wished to impart before leaving the institution. On September 18, 2007, Pausch delivers his last lecture before spending his last days with his wife and children. That speech is the substance of The Last Lecture.
The title of his last lecture was "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," and he shared inspirational words, stories, and pictures with his large audience comprised of family, friends, colleagues, and students. Pausch was dying of pancreatic cancer and knew he would not live long enough to see his children grow up, so he used this lecture to share with his children who their father was as well as inspiring them to dream and achieve their own goals.
Pausch encourages people to “dream big dreams" and to use their time wisely:
Here's what I know:
Time must be explicitly managed, like money.
You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?
Develop a good filing system.
Rethink the telephone.
Take a time out.
Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.
The goal of Pausch's last lecture was to leave a legacy for his children, a legacy of wisdom he learned through trial and error, success and failure, alone and with others.