When Mark Hatfield ’43 asked Antoinette Kuzmanich for her hand in marriage, the couple was serenaded by his Beta Theta Pi brothers at the home of Willamette President G. Herbert Smith in celebration. But these many years, she has continued to tease her husband that he had never given her his Beta pin.
The Hatfields were out of town when the Betas held an alumni event earlier this year. But the Gamma Sigma chapter, founded by Mark Hatfield, was adamant about honoring the No. 1 man on their roster, especially as they transition to their new house. And they were thrilled to help fulfill Mrs. Hatfield’s longstanding wish. So on May 4, 2008, generations of alumni of the singing fraternity gathered to serenade the Hatfields as Mark finally “pinned” Antoinette.
Jon Steiner ’63 and Trustee Doug Houser ’57 helped organize the event, which drew alumni including Jon Straumfjord ’41, Loren Hicks ’42, JD’49, Winser Acton ’47, Tom Bartlett ’51, Trustee Alan Goudy ’51, Bob Bain ’53, Chuck Peter ’56 and Rich Litchfield ’63. The next day, Mrs. Hatfield called Steiner, wanting him to tell all involved “how much the Founding Father Number One and I enjoyed yesterday at the Beta house. It was really such a treat and so heartwarming for both of us. Please tell the brothers it couldn’t have been a better time for all of us, and we thank all of you who had a part in it.”
Mark Hatfield remains the longest-serving U.S. Senator from Oregon, serving from 1967 to 1997. After graduating from Willamette, he served in World War II as a Navy lieutenant, then went on to earn his master’s degree in political science from Stanford in 1948. He returned to the University, serving as dean of students and associate professor in the political science department. He began his political career as a state representative (1951-55), then served as a state senator (1955-57) and secretary of state (1957-59) before becoming governor (1959-67). He has authored numerous books and received more than 100 honorary degrees and other distinctions, including an honorary degree from Willamette in 1958 and the Beta Theta Pi Oxford Cup.