George Fox remembers Sen. Mark Hatfield, former professor and trustee

Senator Mark Hatfield with former George Fox academic dean Lee Nash
Senator Mark Hatfield with former George Fox academic dean Lee Nash

Mark Hatfield and Herbert Hoover
Mark O. Hatfield, future Oregon governor and U.S. senator, and Herbert Hoover, the nation’s 31st president. The two leaders were photographed Aug. 10, 1955, when Hoover returned to Newberg on his 81st birthday to dedicate his boyhood home as a national historic site. Hoover lived in Newberg from 1884 to 1889 and attended Friends Pacific Academy, the forerunner to George Fox University. At the time of the photo, Hatfield was a state senator and the dean of students at Willamette University.

Former U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield died Sunday, Aug. 7, at the age of 89, leaving behind a vast legacy of service to his country, state and at George Fox University.

Hatfield spent a half century in political life, serving as an Oregon legislator, secretary of state, two-term governor and five-term U.S. senator. Upon his retirement from the Senate in the mid-1990s, he embarked on a career as an educator, joining the George Fox faculty in early 1997 to teach courses that focused on American history since World War II, the Vietnam War, the American legislative process, Christians in politics, public policy, and political courage and activism. Hatfield's teaching tenure at George Fox spanned 10 years.

In addition to teaching at George Fox, Hatfield supported the school as a trustee from 1961 until 1988, at which time he became an honorary trustee. He also spoke at numerous campus events, including the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Academic Building in 1977 and the dedication of the renovation of the same building in 2006. He also donated more than 100 books and memorabilia about Hoover – with whom he formed a close relationship during his years as a student at Stanford – to the university for inclusion in what is now the Hoover-Hatfield Library.

In terms of his legacy, Hatfield was a man committed to peace. Many will remember him as the man who broke ranks with his fellow Republicans for his early opposition to the Vietnam and Gulf Wars – and for his role in coauthoring the legislation that brought the troops home from Vietnam. He also believed that access to education, health care, housing and job opportunities – not just military might – were integral to achieving national security. At George Fox, Hatfield's dedication to peace came to light in his address at the installation of then-president Edward Stevens in 1984. In 1985, the school opened its Center for Peace Learning (now the Center for Peace and Justice) in response to the challenge Hatfield had made in his address the year before.

Classes Mark Hatfield Taught at George Fox

  • The Vietnam Experience
  • Herbert Hoover and His Times
  • Recent America: 1945 to the Present
  • Christianity & Politics in U.S.
  • Public Policy
  • International Relations
  • Campaigns and Elections
  • President/Congressional Relationship

Quotes from University Leaders

“Some 35 years ago when I was a young college student I picked up a book by an Oregon politician, Mark Hatfield, called Conflict and Conscience. Senator Hatfield’s book had a significant impact on my own ethical and moral thought. He believed that one’s own moral commitments, in his case rooted in his deep Christian faith, provided the ultimate guide for important life choices. A politician is elected to represent the people, but he or she must also stand for what is right and good for the community. He broke with his party on the issue of the Vietnam War not because it was the politically expedient thing to do but because his moral “compass,” governed by his relationship with Jesus Christ, led him to make a different choice. Senator Hatfield was the penultimate statesman and one that was respected by politicians on both sides of the aisle. 

It was a great privilege for me, when I joined the George Fox community in 1999, to meet and talk with the man I really considered a hero. I found him to be gracious, thoughtful and deeply Christian. Senator Hatfield decided to teach at George Fox University toward the end of his career because he wanted to be at a university that encouraged him to share his faith and life journey with undergraduate students. Senator Hatfield taught here for 10 years. He conveyed truth to students through words but mostly by example.  His humility and grace will long be remembered at George Fox University.”
Robin Baker, President, George Fox University

"In a way it was just another George Fox chapel, but it planted a seed that led to a life-changing relationship with an amazing human being, whose life recently ended and whose eternal life has just begun. The chapel in the Wood-Mar Auditorium was a panel of students asking questions of the guest speaker, then-Governor Mark O. Hatfield. To say I was in awe of the man would have been an understatement. But he put us at ease with his gracious manner, gave great answers to not-so-great questions, and amazed us with his ability to integrate his faith with his already-impressive career in Oregon politics.

"Ten years after that chapel I was in my faculty office in Minthorn Hall, talking with a student, when a call came from then-Senator Hatfield’s chief of staff, offering me a position on the senator’s staff for which I had applied some months before. I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, but didn’t then realize what it would be like to work for such a man.

"Fast forward another 38 years and I was sitting in a church in Beaverton, listening to the tributes to Senator Hatfield in his memorial service. On each side of me were colleagues who also had worked for Hatfield for a number of years and who also were attracted to working for him because of his faithful Christian witness, his political courage, and his great work in crafting a new place for Christians in politics, that of a 'progressive evangelical.'

Senator Hatfield, I’ll always be grateful for the chance to work with you and with the caliber of men and women whom you attracted to be part of your 'family.'"

Lon Fendall, author of Stand Alone or Come Home: Mark Hatfield as an Evangelical and a Progressive, retired from GFU in 2010

"One of the things that attracted me to George Fox was the opportunity to work with Senator Hatfield to start our political science major. His contributions were critical for the program's success.

I had the opportunity to co-teach a number of courses with Senator Hatfield. I was thoroughly impressed by his desire to interact with and assist our students. And what a story teller! Senator Hatfield knew every significant American political leader in the last half of the 20th century – and many international leaders as well. No matter what the topic, he had insightful and interesting anecdotes to tell.

Senator Hatfield was the ideal Christian statesman. A major goal of the political science major is to produce more civic leaders like him for the 21st century."
Mark David Hall, Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Sen. Mark Hatfield"Mark Hatfield proved you could be a Christian, a winning politician, and a person of integrity. This was possible only because his relationship with God was alive and resilient, a reliable source of guidance and comfort, strong enough to withstand the pressures of politics.

But Hatfield's faith was not just his internal polestar. It was also his motivation. Hatfield came as close as anyone I have known to living out the two greatest commandments -- loving God with everything he had, and loving his neighbor as himself. Hatfield attracted "neighbors" everywhere he went: when he went out of the way to find them, as he did by coming to George Fox to encounter our students; and when they found him, even when they interrupted his meals or his meetings. To all he met, in my experience, he was kind and generous with his time.

We designed our general education senior capstone course to answer the question: 'Where will our next Mark Hatfields come from?' We weren't thinking just of politics. Every walk of life needs its Mark Hatfields, driven by their love for God and their neighbors, adept at listening to and leading diverse groups of people, profoundly trustworthy, and ever faithful to God's calling."
Ron Mock, Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

"Mark Hatfield was a wonderful man who was true to his convictions, even when it was politically damaging. I very much enjoyed team teaching with him. I know he enjoyed it, too, and so did the students. I am a bit prejudiced, but of all the leaders I have studied as an historian, I can't think of a single one I admire more than Mark. He was a man of deep faith, and I look forward to seeing him with Jesus in heaven."
Ralph Beebe, professor emeritus

"He was a remarkable person of concern for the welfare of our nation, faith and integrity, at least two of which seem to be missing elements in our current political structure and process."
Fred Gregory, Vice President for University Engagement

Slideshow

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Christian Higher Education

An essay by Mark Hatfield published in 1979 issue of the George Fox alumni newspaper LIFE
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Mark O. Hatfield Quotes

"I'm a little nervous. I'd much rather walk onto the floor of the Senate and speak there." - to The Oregonian prior to giving his first class lecture at George Fox in 1997.

"It's a Christian campus. There is a spiritual dimension to this campus. Students are here to be educated in mind, body and spirit." - at 1997 press conference announcing he would teach at George Fox after retiring from the U.S. Senate.

"Your academic experience will not be complete unless you can point to growth in your spiritual life." - addressing George Fox chapel in 1997

"Our moral basis comes out of institutions like George Fox."
- 1999.

"You know there's something different about this university the moment you walk on this campus. There's a beauty here, a tranquility, a friendliness." - 1999.

Timeline - Sen. Mark Hatfield's impact upon George Fox University

  • 1961 - Joins George Fox Board of Trustees
  • 1977 - Speaks at dedication of Herbert Hoover Academic Building
  • 1979 - Fires starter's gun for launch of annual George Fox Raft Race on the Willamette River
  • 1984 - Gives inaugural address at installation ceremony for George Fox president Edward Stevens, calling for Christian colleges such as George Fox to offer a "biblical ethic in this troubled age," in which military spending far surpassed what was needed to feed, clothe and house the world's people.
  • 1985 - University's Center for Peace Learning (now the Center for Peace and Justice) established in response to Hatfield's 1984 challenge.
  • 1995 - Serves a featured speaker at university's Herbert Hoover Symposium, lecturing on the former president who served as a personal role model.
  • 1997 - Upon retiring from U.S. Senate, joins George Fox faculty as Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of History
  • 1998 - Receives the university's John Woolman Peacemaker Award
  • 1999 - Donates Herbert Hoover books and memorabilia from his collection
  • 2006 - Speaks at dedication of renovated Hoover Academic Building

Comments

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