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

August 8th, 2011

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Political leader taught classes at the Christian college in Oregon for a decade

NEWBERG, Ore. – Former U.S. Senator Mark 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 Studies in response to his challenge the previous year.

“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,” said George Fox President Robin Baker. “I found him to be gracious, thoughtful and deeply Christian. Sen. 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. Sen. 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.”

Mark David Hall, the university’s Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science, said it was Hatfield’s connection to the school that attracted him to work at the Newberg, Ore., university.

“His contributions were critical to the development and success of our political science major,” Hall said. “I had the opportunity to co-teach a number of courses with Sen. Hatfield. I was thoroughly impressed by his desire to interact with and assist our students. And what a storyteller. Sen. 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.”

Ron Mock, associate professor of political science and peace studies, said “Mark Hatfield proved you could be a Christian, a winning politician, and a person of integrity – made 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.”

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier national university. More than 3,400 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master’s and doctoral degrees.

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