Lasting ImpressionsJune 1, 2008 By: Marianne Dougherty American Salon
As many of you know, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, so when I tuned in to Primetime on ABC and caught Diane Sawyer's moving tribute to a Carnegie-Mellon University professor named Randy Pausch, I took the time to watch. Despite the fact that he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Pausch refuses to succumb to self-pity. Instead, he has chosen to live life to the fullest and inspire those around him to do likewise. Six months after his diagnosis, Pausch, a beloved professor of computer science at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh and father of three small children, delivered "The Last Lecture" to a group of students and well-wishers. Lots of professors give last lectures, in which they are asked to reflect upon their demise and consider what matters most to them. Considering Pausch had been given six months to live, his last lecture could have been a maudlin affair. Instead, it became a celebration of life, of seizing every moment, because, as Pausch told his students, "Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think."
Someone videotaped the lecture and posted it on the Internet for a few people who were unable to attend. Since then, more than 10 million people have watched Pausch's last lecture, which has just been published by Hyperion. His message resonated with me, and I imagine it will with you, too.
FROM LEFT: The Last Lecture is available from Hyperion; Randy Pausch with his wife and children at their home in Pittsburgh.
Pausch speaks with a combination of good old-fashioned charm, humor and wit of finding a way to make your dreams come true. Apparently an optimistic attitude can't hurt. Pausch asks if we identify with Tigger, the irrepressibly upbeat tiger, or the gloomy donkey Eeyore in A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner. Not surprisingly, Pausch identifies with Tigger. When it comes to facing adversity, Pausch says, "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." Pausch is facing one heck of a brick wall, but as we went to press, he had still not backed down. Read his book or Google him and be inspired by what you hear. —Marianne Dougherty, editor in chief, firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST OF YOUTH
Matthew Thorpe, 41, just joined the team at Patrick McIvor Studio Two in Allentown, PA. With a background in both art and music, Thorpe has a reputation for being a trendsetter, but he doesn't just duplicate trends he's read about, he actually creates them. "Celebrities all have the same hair—long with sweepy bangs. Using a celebrity photo as a reference is fine, but I like to add subtle variations to create an individual style with more of an edge and fashion-forward attitude," Thorpe says. Unlike many stylists, his favorite tool is not his shears or razor, it's his ears—he really listens to his clients. That kind of empathy, coupled with a solid background in cut and color, is rare in this business. —M.D.