Martha Sansom '29
Martha Sansom laid the foundation for all women’s competitive athletics at St. Lawrence as the first director of women’s athletics. Appointed in 1926, she developed a comprehensive program of varied activities for women, enhancing existing programs and expanding the number of offerings. Sansom was teacher, coach, administrator and director of all physical and athletic activities for women and was the sole member of the women’s staff for her first four years at St. Lawrence.
She was a graduate Clarion Normal School and the Chicago School for Physical Education and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at St. Lawrence during her tenure as director of women’s athletics and physical education. She studied Spanish and French in her first two years at St. Lawrence and was an interpreter for visiting athletes at the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics.
She expanded the women’s athletic offerings from basketball and tennis, adding golf, soccer, volleyball and field hockey upon her arrival and continued to expand the sport offerings during her tenure. Serving as coach for the many different sports, she also formed the Women’s Honorary Athletic Club in 1927 and the Women’s Board of Athletic Control in 1928, which had a primary role of planning and budgeting for women’s athletics.