Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Professor's Ethical Will: His "Last Lecture"

In last Thursday's Wall Street Journal (Sept. 20, 2007), Jeffrey Zaslow wrote an interesting (and touching) story he titled, "A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime." It was about a 46-year old professor's "last lecture" to 400 colleagues and students (he has pancreatic cancer and is expected to live a few months).

Zaslow notes that a number of colleges have started "Last Lecture Series" in which top professors are "asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks." He says the question for audiences to consider is:

"What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?"

Sounds like one of the essential questions we address in crafting an ethical will. I find it encouraging that such questions are being asked on college campuses and that professors are sharing their personal life legacies with their students. Perhaps, it will inspire young people (and older adults) to begin considering their life legacies at an earlier age. It may bring about important changes in their lives as well as have an impact on future generations of people who inhabit this beautiful world.

Professor Pausch used images on a large screen as he talked about his life which Zaslow described as a "rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life". Here's a link to the story which contains a video essay by the Jeff Zaslow about Professor Randy Pausch's last lecture:

The article is well-worth the 5-minutes (or less) it will take you to read it.

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