Willamette University

Something Special: The Class of 1957 Leaves its Mark

By Carole (Pfaff) Von Schmidt ’57

Revered by political science students and respected for his counseling as dean, Mark Hatfield endeared himself to the Willamette class of 1957. We especially loved it when he called us a special group.

This connection lasts to this day, so when our 50th reunion loomed several years ago, the committee took seriously the task of making a gift to the university. With a seed idea from Ann (Notson) Poling ’57, who mentioned that she donated her parents’ papers to the library and observed its disorganized archive, the committee decided to designate money for the organization of the Hatfield papers. Included in the plan was an expansion of the space within the Hatfield Library used to house important records.

Throughout the two-year committee process, other elected officials donated their papers, making the archives a far-reaching research tool for scholars. These included Senator Bob Packwood ’54, U.S. Congressman Denny Smith ’60, U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, Oregonian editor Bob Notson, Oregon and U.S. Representative Bob Smith ’53, Oregon and U.S. Representative Michael Kopetski, and Oregon Representative and Secretary of State Norma Paulus ’62.

The class provided $1.1 million for the archive. Today there is a full-time archival staff, led by Mary McKay, as well as paid student assistants.

At the 50th reunion luncheon in 2007, Mark and Antoinette Hatfield were invited guests. More than 150 people attended. Mark graciously greeted ’57 alums individually. Then, he accepted the $1.1 million check and, again to our delight, told us that we were special. But if Hatfield thought our class was special, we call him extraordinary.

The Art of Leadership

Politics requires two things: integrity — a refusal to betray one’s basic beliefs — and an ability to compromise when doing so allows one to reach a common conclusion with others.

I have seen Mark Hatfield’s refusal to betray his basic beliefs when he refused to support a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. His vote was the last vote needed to send the amendment to the states for their approval or rejection. The pressure on Mark was overwhelming; he did not bend.

On the other hand, I have seen Mark compromise. In the early 1970s I introduced a bill to prohibit the building of dams on the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon. The bill had strong opposition from counties in Oregon, Washington and Idaho adjacent to the Snake River. Hell’s Canyon was not an issue of conscience for Mark. In the end, though not an initialsupporter, Mark could compromise and accept the outcome.

Great politicians and statesmen know when to stand firm and when tocompromise. Mark Hatfield understood when to do both.

— Bob Packwood ’54
Retired U.S. Senator

A Man Who Knows His Onions

I was the secretary for Oregon Chief Justice Latourette [ca. 1956]. We were in the Supreme Court building on 12th Street in Salem, and about 18 trains went by in a day. Windows would rattle constantly, and you could hardly hear yourself think. The judge, shaking his fists, had some choice words for them.

One day I came to work and the judge said, “Kiddo, come over here.” Everybody called me that because I was the youngest one around. He pointed to the street. “Now there’s a man who knows his onions!” he said. I looked down to see a handsome man in a tan raincoat, and Judge Lattourette pointed out that he was the one who had just been elected secretary of state.

He was planting spruce trees as sound barriers between the tracks and the court building. That was the first time I ever saw Mark Hatfield.

— Norma Paulus JD’62
Life Trustee Emeriti and Former
Oregon Secretary of State

People Before Politics

At a campaign event in Portland in 1989, the senator was anxious to make sure he knew everyone in the room, so he stopped just feet from the doorway. He reached into the breast pocket of his suit coat and said, “Gary, did I ever show this to you?” It was a small note card, like the ones senators use to jog their memory. But on this card were hand-written names of people — important people, heads-of-state, former presidents — and there was my name! He said, “This is my list of all the people I pray for every day. How long ago was it when you had your cancer?”

While I choked back tears he proceeded into the room and greeted everyone by their first names like they were old friends. And they were. All Mark Hatfield staffers were taught this lesson early on: People are more important than issues, no matter the circumstances.

— Gary Barbour ’76
Staff of Senator Hatfield 1976–90

Three Lessons

Mark O. Hatfield held many titles, but few were as consequential as “professor.” And while my time as an undergraduate at Willamette certainly prepared me for professional success, nothing compares to the eight yearsI spent learning at his side. He taught me lessons about politics, but, more importantly, he taught about life:

Lesson One: Politics is a fundamental exercise in human relations. Hatfield never felt that there was risk in treating every individual with dignity.

Lesson Two: Values should guide politics, not vise versa. Doing the “right thing” was always the right thing to do, even when the political climate was not in his favor. Opponents in debate dreaded going toe-to-toe with Mark Hatfield because he challenged the principle behind their position.

Lesson Three: Every person and every experience presents an opportunity to learn — there are no bounds to the source of education. This belief and his vast knowledge of history were key ingredients to his successful political career.

— Sean O’Hollaren ’83
Senior Vice President, Honeywell, Inc;
Staff of Mark Hatfield, 1984–91

Human Resources

There are those who believe that Mark Hatfield’s most enduring legacy can be seen in our material resources — in the hospitals, research facilities, buildings, bridges and highways that are here because he made them a priority.

As important as they are, I believe Senator Hatfield’s most enduring legacy can be seen in our human resources — the countless individuals who, during the course of his years in the United States Senate, had the privilege of serving as an intern or staff member.

Inspired by the example the senator set every day through his intelligence, integrity and moral compass, many of these individuals can now be found making a difference in communities in every corner of Oregon. Senator Hatfield’s life and career will always stand as a testimony of the power of Willamette’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”

— Kerry Tymchuk ’81, JD’84
Trustee and Interim Executive Director of
the Oregon Historical Society


Hatfield is sworn into the U.S. Senate by Vice President Hubert Humphrey, ca. 1967


Wife Antoinette joins Hatfield at a university event


Hatfield plays the role of advisor at Willamette


In Closing

“Bipartisan coalitions are the heart of healthy, progressive politics. I learned that our opponents even — and perhaps most especially — are human, deserving care and support as much as we.”