FROM THE DESK OF
Last year I was fortunate enough to purchase a wonderful basket full of books at our Medallion Dinner Silent Auction. Over
the holiday, I was perusing my box of treasures when I spotted Randy Pausch’s book
The Last Lecture
This book has been on my want-to-read list for quite some time, so I was more than happy to while away several of my
holiday evenings curled up on my couch reading about a great educator’s life and dreams. For those of you unfamiliar with
this moving story, Dr. Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University when he was diagnosed
with a terminal illness. Since he had a wife and three small children, Dr. Pausch was torn by the many concerns swirling
around him in the very short time he had left. After providing for his family, he became absorbed in a quest to share his final
thoughts with the world. For a long time Carnegie Mellon had hosted a lecture series where outstanding faculty, researchers,
and leaders were invited to deliver the most important lecture of their life. If they could give only one lecture, what would it
In 2007 Dr. Pausch took the stage and delivered his last lecture, one that he titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood
Dreams.” The lecture hall was full with more than 400 people in attendance, including many of Dr. Pausch’s former
students. He made the audience laugh with tales of his childhood, and he inspired them with heartfelt advice about the
importance of dreaming big.
His book captured many of the same ideas as that now famous speech (more than 15 million folks have watched the hour-
long lecture on YouTube.) Surprisingly, Dr. Pausch’s story was not about illness or death. Instead it was a vibrant exhortation
on life, love, and true joy. It moved me to think deeply about childhood dreams—my dreams and our students’ dreams.
Higher education has a huge role to play in making dreams come true. This is not something you routinely hear about in the
media or even in meetings on college campuses, but helping students realize their dreams is the reason many of us choose to
teach at the university level in the first place. Dr. Pausch was able to articulate that intense motivation so clearly; his passion
for dreaming and teaching was contagious.
Sadly, Dr. Pausch lost his battle to cancer in July 2008, but his words live on in his book where they will inspire others for
many, many years. Five years after he passed, I certainly was inspired. As I close the book on Dr. Pausch’s story, I can tell you
it is not one that I will soon forget.
I can only hope that our students keep reaching for their dreams throughout their time at IU Southeast – and well beyond.
My fondest hope for them is “Dream Big and Live Large.”
Sandra R. Patterson-Randles
Chancellor, IU Southeast