The Last Lecture Chapters 25-27 Summary & Analysis

Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture

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The Last Lecture Chapters 25-27 Summary & Analysis

Chapters 25 – 27

In Chapter 25, Randy tells the story of Tommy Burnett, a young man who wanted a job on Pausch’s research team; he told Randy about his childhood dream to work in special effects for the next Star Wars movie. He was selected to be a part of Randy’s research team, worked really hard and was a great person to work with. He accepted a job at George Lucas’s “Industrial Light & Magic” team and got to work, in leadership roles, on the next Star Wars movies (1999, 2002, and 2005). Tommy admitted to Randy’s students later on that Randy helped make his dreams come true because he “rode him hard and had very high expectations” (118). Randy also taught Tommy to go above and beyond the “smart” label; he needed to “help everyone else feel happy to be ” (118). Tommy sincerely thanked Randy for teaching him the right things, not just skills, and now follows in Randy’s footsteps in his desire to help others achieve their dreams.

In order to provide an opportunity for Randy’s students to work towards their dreams, Carnegie Mellon opened up a “Building Virtual Worlds” Course to all undergraduates and had a wide mix of students involved. They worked in teams of 4, with instructions to “build a virtual world” with their only limitation being a “no shooting violence, no pornography” rule. After two weeks, the students would show their work, and then the teams would be shuffled and they would start again with three new teammates. As well as this undergraduate course, along with Drama professor Don Marinelli, Randy created “The Entertainment Technology Center: a two-year Master’s degree program in which artists and technologists came together to work on amusement rides, computer games, animatronics, and anything else they could dream up” (124). It was a huge success; future employers were hiring students that had enlisted in the three-year program before they had even finished it.

The section ends with Randy’s explanation of the “Alice” project. “Alice” is a computer software tool he helped to develop so he could help thousands of others…

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