Campus Closeup: Janice Hampton

Filled with clever and spooky decorations that included bats and potions, the office of Janice Hampton (Communication and Performance Studies) resonated with Halloween spirit leading up to last week's holiday. It’s no surprise, considering she takes great delight in dressing incognito and surprising people. Some of her best costumes included a very creative fall tree (below) and a witch costume that was executed so well she said it gave many people a fright.

Hampton lives near Big Bay. She said she doesn’t mind the drive to campus, particularly during her favorite season when the leaves are changing.

“I like the color; I call it the kaleidoscope of color,” she said. “It makes me feel good. I look at the trees like they’re wearing their best prom dresses.”

Hampton was born and raised in Marquette and attended NMU. After living downstate for a number of years, she returned to the area with her two sons. She worked temp jobs before landing a position in auxiliary services at NMU in 1978. Hampton also worked in the chemistry department before transferring to athletics, where she spent 25 years.

"I began to feel 'tunnel vision' and needed a change," she said. "The principal secretary job in communication and performance studies was open. It turned out to be a perfect fit. My advice is, if you think you need a change, go ahead and do it. It benefits you to meet new people and it really is refreshing. It gives you a new perspective on life and your job. It energizes you.” 

Her favorite part of the job is the student interaction. She said she loves seeing what their goals are and what they plan on doing with their lives.

Hampton's job duties include making sure the office runs smoothly, printing off syllabi and exams, and helping students through the required procedure to change their majors. She is also helping a student gain work experience through her office. 

A self-proclaimed NHL junky, Hampton is the only woman in a fantasy hockey league based in Chicago. Urged by her nephew to join the league, comprised mostly of young men, she was initially nervous. But Hampton reports that she is doing well and glad that she took advantage of the new opportunity.

Hampton also enjoys spending free time with her grandsons Joey and Drew. They live in Marquette with her son, Andy, and daughter-in-law, Becca. Hampton said her oldest son, Joey, "watches over the family from heaven."

Some people might be surprised to learn that Hampton is something of a woodswoman. She built her own home out by the Yellow Dog River, where she can hike in her woods, ride an ATV and collect beaver sticks. When she retires in a year, she hopes to make art with wood in her free time. Her main source will be the beaver sticks she began accumulating when she decided to build a staircase out of them.

"The staircase is quite the conversation piece. Every beaver stick is unique; like your children. No two are the same. Every time I would sand one down and coat it, I would say that was my favorite. Then I would start on the next stick and find myself feeling the same way. They all had special individuality. Each one is part of a master work of art."

Her most recent venture was buying a woodchipper to cut her own wood for her woodstove. While her favorite attire may be outdoor-friendly camouflage and hiking boots, Hampton said she can still feel comfortable being dressed up. She was referring to nice clothes, but one might also assume she meant a clever costume. Either way, she makes a statement.


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Updated: November 4, 2009

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