The Oregon senator was well-loved as the figure behind the Hatfield School of Government
Mark O. Hatfield passed this Sunday, leaving behind his legacy as an Oregon senator and the namesake of the School of Government at Portland State.
“The senator generously gave us the use of his name,” said Ron Tammen, director of the school. “He taught here and assisted many students over a long period of time while his health permitted.”
A native Oregonian, Hatfield went to Willamette University before serving in the Navy during World War II. He then earned a graduate degree from Stanford and went on to represent his home state for 30 years as a U.S. Senator.
Tammen said that Hatfield’s support was hugely advantageous to the school, its programs and the university as a whole.
“Because the name is known nationally and internationally, it gave PSU and the School of Government ‘recognition and credibility’,” Tammen said. “We are associated with a man of outstanding reputation.”
According to Tammen, there are only 50 or so public-policy schools across the country named for political figures. Thanks to Hatfield, PSU is one of them.
“Partly as a result of the senator’s reputation and partly for other reasons, we have grown substantially in the eleven years that we have been in this building,” Tammen said.
Tammen continued that the Hatfield School of Government now ranks third or fourth among peer institutions of similar sizes.
“It’s been part of a significant academic growth pattern for PSU and for the state of Oregon, and we’ve attracted students from all over the country and internationally,” Tammen said.
Tammen said he had worked with Hatfield since the late 1970s and enjoyed a “very close working relationship” with him. After he became the director of the school, he met with Hatfield every week.
This fall, Tammen plans to hold an event that will memorialize the ideas and values of Hatfield.
In the spirit of Hatfield and his educational goals, Tammen will approach the memorial as a kind of “teachable moment” geared toward the 600 or so majors in the Hatfield School of Government.
“What we’ve developed is a video program about Senator Hatfield and his values and what he stood for as a man,” Tammen said. “There are so many students who recognize the name ‘Hatfield,’ but don’t know what he did.”