The degree of Senator Hatfield’s political courage was as great as the clarity of his convictions. This is a man who knows what he is about...
He was and is one of the most decent and caring men I have ever met. And this was true when the door was shut and the camera lights were off. He cared not just about policy, but also about people — a rare quality indeed.
Trustee, Willamette University
His moral compass, people understood, set him apart from the rest, and enabled him to resist the seductions of power, the lucrative deals and shabby compromises. They were, as I have been, deeply moved by the dignity and humility with which Hatfield carried himself, both in power and in retirement. In an age of widespread cynicism about politics and politicians, Senator Hatfield’s life was a stirring affirmation that politics can be an ennobling career.
Politics professor, Willamette University
President, Willamette University, 1980–97
For more than half a century, the name Mark O. Hatfield has been synonymous with the highest standards of character and leadership. Willamette University has been blessed by the close connection with Mark Hatfield; as a student, administrator and distinguished alumnus he has characterized the traits held in highest esteem by the university — integrity and service to others.
I recall two anecdotes in my relationship with Senator Hatfield that bring a smile to my face. On the solemn occasion when we were dedicating the Hatfield Fountain that leads to the Hatfield Library I tried to rise to lofty heights of rhetorical splendor in introducing the senator. I got to the concluding sentence, where I intended to present the distinguished senior senator from the great state of Oregon. Instead, with solemn fanfare I introduced the distinguished senior citizen from Oregon. It was a while before the senator let me forget my word choice.
I also recall another occasion when I met with Senator Hatfield to inform him that the architect who had designed the Whipple clock tower that stands at the entrance of the Hatfield Library wanted to use four quotations from Senator Hatfield to grace the four sides of the tower. This would be a simple assignment, given the senator’s many books and speeches with plenty of “quotable” gems. The senator said he was honored and that it would not be a difficult assignment to select from his many public pronouncements. I then dropped the other shoe by sheepishly informing him of one small limitation I had not mentioned. Because of space limitations and the size of the letters on the tower, each quotation had to be limited to no more than twenty-four letters. I reminded the senator that Shakespeare had said that “brevity is the soul of wit,” and in this case we wanted him to be very witty. On this occasion Senator Hatfield proved that he could not only be inspiring but extremely succinct. Too bad more public figures have not followed his lead.
Trustee, Willamette University; President, Schmitt Industries, Inc.; White House aide to President George H.W. Bush
Like many young Oregonians during the course of Senator Hatfield’s long and distinguished career in the United States Senate, I had the pleasure of serving as a summer intern in his office in Washington, D.C., just after my first year at Willamette’s law school and business school in the late 1970s. Little did I know at the time, but working for and getting to know Senator Hatfield and his long-time Chief of Staff Gerry Frank that summer would change the direction of my life. I believe that to be true of just about every individual who became part of the Hatfield family. Several years after graduating from Willamette, I joined the senator’s legislative staff, ultimately serving as his legislative director and legal counsel. It was an experience that has had a profound impact on me to this day.
Here are a few examples of the Senator Mark Hatfield (a.k.a. “The Senator” or “M-O-H”) that I worked for and got to know. When I joined his legislative staff, he was already chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the United States Senate. If anyone had the right to be difficult to work for — a management style not uncommon in the Senate — it was Senator Hatfield. He was nothing of the kind. There was no one in the Senate who was more likeable or liked — or respected.
He was the true definition of a Christian gentleman and demonstrated his faith by his actions as well as his words. He was and is one of the most decent and caring men I have ever met. And this was true when the door was shut and the camera lights were off. He cared not just about policy, but also about people — a rare quality indeed. He was held in very high regard by all, from the workers in the cafeteria to senators on the other side of the aisle.
I recall his admonition to me and others on his staff that we were to personally get to know the “workers” in the Senate, the ones considered at the bottom of the ladder, for those were the ones who were really important to the institution. Even in a place as hierarchical as the United States Senate, he said, everyone is equal in the eyes of God.
His commitment to people regardless of political ideology was reflected in his relationships. One example was his friendship with Senator John Stennis, a Southern Democrat and former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who was shot in 1973 during a robbery. Who was one of the first people to rush to the hospital to be by his side and answer phone calls? Mark Hatfield. Another example was his friendship and regard for the current chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the nation’s longest serving senator, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Although Senator Byrd was a former Senate majority leader and a tough partisan, when he became chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 1989 — a change that moved Senator Hatfield from chairman to the Republican ranking member of the committee — Senator Byrd, in a gesture that was as unprecedented as it was uncharacteristic, had a special honorary office in the U.S. Capitol created for his friend Mark Hatfield. Nothing of the kind has happened since.
Senator Hatfield also made time to interact with his staff. While staffers from other offices rarely got to spend time with their boss, we on Senator Hatfield’s staff would routinely join him for morning coffee in the Hart Senate Office Building cafeteria before the day began. And if you were a particularly early riser, you could join him for morning Mass at St. Joseph’s across from the Hart Building. He attended Mass most mornings when he was in town, which was pretty impressive, particularly considering that he was a Baptist! Other staffers in the Senate would repeatedly tell me how much they liked and admired “my boss,” how much they would like to work for him, and how they envied the time we spent with him.
Perhaps most important, the degree of Senator Hatfield’s political courage was as great as the clarity of his convictions. This is a man who knows what he is about. No one understood the potential consequences of his well-known thoughtful independence more than he himself did. In 1968, more conservative senators tried to derail his chances of being named Richard Nixon’s vice presidential running mate because of the positions he took. (Spiro Agnew was eventually selected — think how different history might be had Nixon gone with his initial choice!) While others may have been willing to manipulate their positions and votes to curry favor, Mark Hatfield remained true to himself, always.
The Senator was and is a loyalist by nature, and he deeply loved the Republican Party that he had come to know, yet he often took positions contrary to the wishes of his party’s leadership. Most know that toward the end of his long and distinguished career, he cast the deciding “No” vote on the constitutional balanced budget amendment, a move that greatly aggravated those in his party more conservative than himself. Yet fewer know that prior to that vote, he privately visited with Senator Dole — then Senate majority leader — and offered to resign his seat rather than cast that vote. That was no hollow offer; Senator Hatfield meant it. It was wisely turned down by Senator Dole.
Senator Hatfield is the embodiment of the admonition that one should never confuse being nice or pleasant with being weak. Believe me, he could handle his own on the floor of the Senate. There was no more formidable orator, parliamentarian or legislator. He was always courtly and courteous, but beneath that courtesy was steel and muscle, and if you took on Mark Hatfield on the floor of the Senate, you were in for the fight of your life, and other senators knew it. Successfully steering 13 separate appropriations bills through the Senate every year as chairman of the Appropriations Committee is not a job for lightweights!
For all his seniority and stature, Mark Hatfield was a truly humble man. One of my favorite stories was about his first trip to the Nixon White House with other senators during the Senator’s first term in office, relatively early in Nixon’s first term. As the Senator tells it, he was a little nervous about his first meeting with President Nixon for a number of reasons, in no small part because he had become quite critical of Nixon, particularly his handling of the Vietnam War. This increasingly public criticism had certainly aggravated Nixon. Well, when the senators arrived at the White House, the president went down the line of senators alphabetically, greeting each of them, and got to Senator Hatfield. At that moment Senator Hatfield, trying to be funny to break the tension, nervously said, “Nice to see you, Mr. President, but I don’t know why you would want to meet with me.” President Nixon replied without missing a beat, “Because we’re in the “H’s.”
Like so many, I love and remain committed to Mark Hatfield and will always be proud to call myself a “Hatfield Man.” More than anyone I know, he best embodies the timeless image of a statesman and the admonition of the Willamette motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”
Senator Bob Packwood
Attorney; U.S. Senator (1968-95); political science graduate, Willamette University, 1954
Few people were privileged to know Mark Hatfield as well as I did.
I came to Willamette in the fall of 1950 when Mark was first running for the Oregon House of Representatives. Although I was only a freshman, I worked a few weekends on his campaign, and worked for him again in 1952 when he was running for reelection.
During my senior year at Willamette, I was president of the Beta house. Mark was a Beta and he would periodically come to the house for dinner, and we would partner after dinner with a couple of other brothers for an evening of bridge. We also attended the funerals of several students who died.
After three years in law school on the East Coast I returned in time to be very active on his 1958 campaign for governor. In 1962 he was reelected governor and I was elected to the state legislature, and for four years worked closely with him in that capacity. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966 and I in 1968. For the next 27 years we worked more closely, I believe, than any other two senators in the history of the Senate. Never did a cross word pass between us. On those few occasions where we disagreed on issues, we disagreed in mutual respect.
I saw him exhibit extraordinary courage on a number of occasions, but never more so than in 1995 when faced with a Senate vote on a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance the budget. This amendment was the "Holy Grail" for Republicans, with Republican leaders announcing that there would be no vote more important in that session of Congress. Republican Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire said any senator who voted against the amendment should be defeated. When asked whether that included Mark Hatfield, he replied, "Yes. Absolutely."
The House of Representatives had already passed the amendment by the required two-thirds vote and it was only one vote short of a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Mark was opposed. He was not simply badgered; he was threatened with losing his chairship of the important Appropriations Committee. He never budged. He never wavered. America, Oregon and Willamette were lucky to have and to know him. Others may try to follow in his footsteps. No one can fill his shoes.
Politics professor, Willamette University
All leaders, by definition, require followers. Some procure their followers through coercion or intimidation, other leaders acquire them through bargains or inducements, and still others rely on mesmerizing rhetoric. Senator Mark Hatfield’s leadership was different. He was neither a master dealmaker nor a hypnotic speaker. And he was certainly no political bully. People followed Senator Hatfield because they respected his personal integrity. They trusted him to do the right thing. His moral compass, they understood, set him apart from the rest, and enabled him to resist the seductions of power, the lucrative deals and shabby compromises. They were, as I have been, deeply moved by the dignity and humility with which Hatfield carried himself, both in power and in retirement. In an age of widespread cynicism about politics and politicians, Senator Hatfield’s life was a stirring affirmation that politics can be an ennobling career.
Political science professor, Willamette University, 1949–60
There were three of us in the political science department. Mark was very interested in talking about international affairs. He went off on tours with people to places in Europe, particularly to the eastern part and northern part.
The departments were not big things in those days. In Eaton Hall, there were three offices that we shared on the third floor. Mark and I, we were each given a student assistant, which was helpful. But it was very small office space. Mostly we did all our work at home.
Mark was soon running for secretary of state. One of the first things he had to do when elected was decide who would be part of his staff as director of elections for the state of Oregon. He named me. That meant I had to deal with all 36 of the county clerks, to be sure they were doing the right things.
When he became governor, he had to find someone to be state director of finance and administration, and that I did for eight years. I had to appear before the Ways and Means Committee to advocate and defend the budget recommended by Governor Hatfield. In some ways, it was probably the best time of my career.
Political science graduate, Willamette University, 1959; assistant administrator for Human Relations and Labor Relations, Oregon State Mental Health Division
Many of the women in our class selected freshman political science at 8 a.m. MWF with little or no knowledge of what it was all about. The fact that our professor, Mark Hatfield, was young, handsome, single and immaculately groomed — complete with matching tie and socks — may have had something to do with our perfect attendance. We were shattered when the word went out that he was engaged to Antoinette.
I think one of the incredible things about him was his ability to remember names and always personalize his contacts, the casual ones as well as those that are important. That served him well.
Political science graduate, Willamette University, 1959; attorney
When we arrived at Willamette in 1955, Mark had already served two terms in the Oregon legislature, was gaining national Republican Party recognition, and was an associate professor of political science and dean of men. I first heard Mark lecture when I attended Boys State on the Willamette campus in the summer of 1952. He gave several lectures under the general heading of world geopolitics. They were precise and incisive. This was heady stuff for a high school freshman, particularly in the pre-TV era.
I took Mark’s Intro to Political Science course during my freshman year. It was a well-organized combination of history and discussion of governmental organization. I think we students recognized that our lecturer was on his way to making history on the state and national scene.
Although he was inundated with year-end academic responsibility and campaigning for secretary of state, Mark took the time to talk to me and give me the benefit of his advice. I have always been grateful for that time with him. Mark was elected governor when we were seniors.
Political science graduate, Willamette University, 1959; trustee, Willamette University
I was introduced to Mark Hatfield, dean of students, during orientation week in the fall of 1955. When we met in one of the fraternities he asked me if I was going out for the football team. I responded that I did not consider myself a good candidate, since my high school team won only one game my senior year. He assured me that with the excellent coaching staff, I would have a different experience at Willamette. He asked me to contact the coach and tell him that Mark Hatfield wanted me to play football for the school.
The next day I introduced myself to Coach Ogdahl. He had never heard of me, and he noted that he had never recruited anyone from Myrtle Point High School. Apparently, as a favor to Dean Hatfield, he allowed me to suit up for the freshman squad and to be the backup for the varsity center. After that first year I was fortunate enough to do something I had never dreamed of — to start on a winning college football team and earn conference honors every year. Those were referred to as the “Glory Years” for Willamette football. I saw Dean Hatfield frequently during my first year at Willamette, and he always had encouraging remarks about my football participation. [Long would later be named first team center for the Little All-America Team by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.]
Marie DeHarpport Zeller
Political science graduate, Willamette University, 1955
Mark Hatfield was a very important person on campus. His classes were interesting. He didn’t limit his discussions to just what was in the text. With his classes, it was a matter of not only reading what he assigned, but also learning from his lectures about his own experiences and his value system. He was a good speaker, and he was articulate. Students didn’t go to sleep in his class.
My family was very involved with Willamette. My parents both attended Willamette, and my mother graduated in 1931. When I was a student at Willamette, my mother worked as a volunteer, organizing parents in Portland to support the college. Sometimes she would work with Mark Hatfield, and whenever he saw her, he always remembered her name. He always called her Mrs. DeHarpport, not Grace. He had a marvelous ability to remember the names of people. In the political world, he was renowned for that.
He did have great political connections in the state. After I graduated, he was elected as secretary of state, and then governor, and eventually he went to the U.S. Senate. It was a progression that didn’t surprise me at all. It was great fun to watch his career unfold.
Attended Willamette University, 1953–55
When I was first going to Willamette, I never had anything to do with Mark Hatfield, although I knew who he was — the dean of men. I used to see him every morning when he would come to school. He was very well dressed and always looked so neat.
I was only there to take the required classes I needed to get into dental school, so I was only taking science classes. Mark Hatfield got hold of my schedule somehow and he called me in. I was shaking in my boots because I didn’t know what was going on.
He lectured me that this was a school that believed in a liberal arts education and I was not following that tradition. He said, “Mr. Zeller, are you trying to be a specialist?” As a matter of fact, that’s what I was doing, but a specialist wasn’t going to get through Willamette. He said, “You’ll have to broaden your base and take some other humanities classes.” I agreed to take German and American history, and he was happy with that.
He obviously felt a liberal arts education was important, even up to the point of actually getting in touch with you personally to make sure you were doing that. I look back to that as a good experience, something I needed. He provided me a better experience there than I had meant to have.
NAB President and CEO; United States Senator from Oregon (1997-2009)
“History should record that Mark O. Hatfield was Oregon’s greatest public servant of the 20th century. If Oregon had a Mt. Rushmore for its public servants, Senator Hatfield would be on it. His uniquely independent voice allowed him to represent the best interests of Oregonians even though, at times, his conscience led him to tack into the political winds as a statesman.
The day I was sworn in as a U.S. senator, he said to me 'If you are faithful to your family and your God, you'll do right by your country." Clearly, this is a creed Mark lived by. Senator Hatfield built his legacy by staying true to his beliefs, even if that meant standing alone.
While I have lost a friend and a valued mentor, Oregon and our nation have lost a dedicated public servant and a true gentleman.”