We wanted to hear from members of the Bradley family about their Bradley Experience. Bill Campbell ’61 graciously agreed to be our first writer.
Coming to a mutual understanding
Looking back on my years at Bradley, I have many fond memories. Perhaps the one I recall the most is from a finance class took my senior year. Professor Wayne Allen assigned each class member an essay topic. Mine, I thought, must certainly be the hardest of all.
Since I was totally unfamiliar with the assigned topic, I made a trip to Bradley’s library where I found a wonderful book on the subject. However, after an hour of reading I still drew a blank. I tried to reword what I had read but lacked sufficient understanding to do so in an intelligible fashion. Eventually, the time came, and I turned in my paper.
When Professor Allen returned it, I was not surprised to see that I had received a failing grade. He called me up after class and said he hoped he hadn’t been unfair in his grading, but it looked to him as if I had copied the text directly from the book I had found in the library (a book with which he was undoubtedly familiar).
He then asked if that was, in fact, the case. “Your assumption was correct,” I replied. “I tried to paraphrase what I had read, but found I was so clueless of the subject that I was afraid I might inadvertently change the meaning in some way, so I simply copied it in the interest of accuracy.”
I may have been wrong, but I thought I detected a slight smile as he thanked me for my honesty. At the conclusion of the term, Professor Wayne passed out our grades on a small folded sheet of paper. Mine read simply, “A 'C' by the grace of God and Wayne Allen.”
As I read that note I recalled something my father had often said to me: “The truth may be hard, but it’s only half as hard as if you tell me something and I find out it’s not true.”
My Bradley years served me well during a successful business career and paved the way for rapid promotions. Success with several entrepreneurial ventures afforded me an early retirement and the pursuit of anadvanced degree and a second avocation in the ministry.
I would be remiss, however, if I failed to state that plagiarism is not a preferred or suggested path to the ministry. The lesson, for me, was rather the grace afforded me by Professor Allen, and the reminder that honesty is, indeed, the best policy.
I remember many of my professors from my Bradley years, but with only two exceptions I do not recall their first names. Kal Goldberg in economics was one, and of course, Wayne Allen in finance is the other.
Thanks Dad, for the lesson on integrity and thanks Wayne Allen, for showing me the application of that lesson.
It occurs to me that there are many others out there with reflections on their Bradley days. I, for one, would love to hear them. And thanks, Bradley magazine, for allowing me to share mine.