Trust and Responsibility

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(This is an excerpt from Assisted by Johns Stockton and Kerry L. Pickett.

Throughout my junior year, the classroom continued to provide humor and lessons not found in the pages of a textbook or inside the lines of a basketball court. One experience involved a study group friend and a test of character. Lori Abraham was also a varsity basketball player as well as an eventual housemate of the twins. I saw a lot of her, and we became best of friends. As fellow business majors, we crossed paths daily in the classroom. This particular semester we had both missed our final exam in Mr. Sladich’s marketing class due to basketball travel schedules.

Professor Sladich wore many hats during his forty-six years at Gonzaga. He was a highly regarded campus fixture. On this occasion he had graciously permitted us to reschedule the exam. Lori and I arrived together over Christmas break for the makeup final. Without ceremony, Professor Sladich handed us our exams, closed and locked the door, and left us alone to our challenge with only these parting instructions: “Bring this to my office when you’re done.” As the door latched shut, we looked at each other and smiled. With our notes and textbooks within arm’s reach and unmonitored discussion opportunities available, it appeared we were poised to ace this final. But after a couple of inquiring glances, we made a silent agreement that we would not betray the trust Mr. Sladich had placed in us. Instead, we buried our heads and went to work. It was a good moment for both of us—one that has paid dividends for many years. Later we admitted to each other that in earlier years we might have buckled under the temptation. We hadn’t, and we were proud of ourselves. Lori and I learned a lot about trust and responsibility being around Harry Sladich.

(John Stockton and Kerry L. Pickett, Assisted: An Autobiography [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 2013], 87–88).

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