Janet Hammarstrom
Janet Hammarstrom
Title: Class of 2013
Organization: Field Hockey, Women's Basketball and Softball

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, women’s athletics was growing and expanding at WPI. Janet “Scoop” Hammarstrom played a large role in the successful development of the field hockey, women’s basketball, and softball programs here at the university.

Arguably, Hammarstrom was at her best on the softball diamond. Her sophomore year of 1978 saw the program reach varsity status. The Engineers were 9-1 in the regular season and, with Hammarstrom’s bat in the middle of the lineup, registered 15.6 runs per game. The team finished third at the state tournament.

Success continued in her junior campaign as she led the team with a .405 batting average and an 11-3 record and a second-place finish in the season-ending MAIAW Tournament. The winning continued as a senior in 1980, as the Crimson and Gray emerged victorious in 10-of-13 outings that spring Hammarstrom hit at a .326 clip.

On the basketball court, Hammarstrom was a four-year letter-winner at center. She played on the first varsity team in 1976-77 and helped the Engineers defeat the likes of Assumption, Brandeis, and Bryant en route to an 11-4 debut mark. After defeating Stonehill in the MAIAW quarterfinals, the Crimson and Gray fell to Mount Holyoke in the semifinals, 45-42.

WPI was 12-3 the following year with another MAIAW semifinal appearance. The next two seasons saw Hammarstrom continue to start, with the defensive-minded center averaging seven points per game during her senior year of 1979-80.

“Janet was a gifted athlete who could play any sport she wanted to - and she did for WPI,” says her Hall of Fame Coach Sue Chapman. “Her dedication and commitment was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the women's athletic program of today."

Hammarstrom was at the forefront in helping to form the first field hockey team at WPI. Field hockey did not become a varsity program until after she graduated, but she was a valuable piece of the club teams that led to the formation of the varsity squad.

“Janet was a very strong, dependable athlete who excelled on and off the field at WPI,” says Hall of Fame teammate Michele (Giard) Hanly. “As her nickname will attest, she was always “scooping” up the ball either for a basket or an out, or to defend our goal. She was the kind of player that anyone would want as a teammate. Fortunately for WPI, her dedication and loyalty to the women’s athletics program at WPI continues today.”

A native of Worcester, Janet earned three degrees in chemical engineering from WPI, a BS with high distinction in 1980, an MS in 1982, and a PhD in 1987. She has worked at Saint-Gobain (formerly Norton Co.) for 27 years, holding various engineering positions in R&D and, more recently, in abrasives manufacturing as a senior project engineer. She holds several patents in abrasive technology. In her free time, she remains dedicated to physical fitness and sports, and enjoys working out, running, water skiing, and kayaking, among other activities.

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