Pausch was a computer-science professor who became famous for “The Last Lecture,” which he delivered to students after discovering that he had terminal cancer. The speech became a YouTube sensation and later a bestselling book.
Years before I had the honor of getting to know Randy, I was already a fan of the work he’d done on Alice, a computer programming language. We had fun on set, geeking out about his accomplishments. It was a heartbreaking notion that he might not live to see himself on screen [which he, in fact, did not]. But somehow, impossibly, in the face of such a grim diagnosis, Randy joked about wanting to be buried in his Starfleet uniform. Despite it all, he was radiant, kind, and good-humored. Working with Randy was a pleasure. I’m grateful that I had a chance to meet him.