Helen Hazelton arrived at Purdue in 1929 as the founding head of the University's Department of Physical Education for Women and dedicated herself to expanding and improving not only the program at Purdue but also the place of women's athletics nationally.
Hazelton received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 1916, then earned professional training in the Department of Hygiene at Wellesley College. Before joining the Purdue faculty, she taught at Northwestern University and at the University of Minnesota. While working, Hazelton returned to school and received a master's degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1929.
When Hazelton arrived at Purdue, the Department of Women's Physical Education had two instructors, a number that soon grew to five. She expanded the number of sports classes that were offered for credit, taught both physical education classes, and supervised extracurricular sports.
By the early 1930s, Purdue coeds were able to earn a state teacher's license in the field of physical education. As one student wrote, Hazelton "has won the respect and admiration of all women, whether interested in physical education or not. As the director of this department she has been associated with every woman of the University."
In addition to her responsibilities as an educator, Hazelton was also the chairman of the National Section on Women's Athletics of the American Physical Education Association.