Jean Sammet is an influential computer scientist. After graduating from Mount Holyoke with a major in mathematics, she earned an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Illinois.
In 1962, after joining IBM, Sammet developed the FORMAC programming language, the first widely used computer language for symbolic manipulation of mathematical formulas.
Sammet’s other notable accomplishments include serving as programming technology planning manager for the Federal Systems Division from 1968 to 1974 and as software technology manager in 1979. She was the first female president of the Association of Computing Machinery, a position she held from 1974 to 1976.
In 1978, Mount Holyoke awarded Sammet an honorary doctor of science degree. She has also won several awards for her achievement in the computing field and has sponsored lectures in computer science at MHC.
Sammet set the foundation for what would become an important area of research and development in computing—creating programming languages—inspiring many to continue exploring the technological opportunities computing offers.