Jean is a motivational speaker, author, award-winning athlete and advocate worldwide for persons with disabilities. She has been a television sports commentator and corporate spokesperson. Currently, serves as a Senior Director of Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois.
During her career, Jean was the first eight-time winner of the Boston Marathon. She set five new course records and five world-best times. From 1990 to 2011, she held Boston’s fastest time in the women’s wheelchair division. Her record for the 26.2 mile distance was 1 hour, 34 minutes and 22 seconds. In addition to her success in Boston, Jean has also won two Olympic medals, 12 Paralympic medals and continues to hold the world record in the 10,000 meter (6.2 mile) track event, which was set during the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Sports Illustrated for Women magazine recognized Jean as one of the top 25 female athletes of the twentieth century.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines provided Jean with one of its highest honors in 2003 when they named her the Godmother of their Voyager Class Series ship, Mariner of the Seas. She is also in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame and the Wheelchair Sports, USA Hall of Fame.
Jean earned a B.A. in Speech Communication with honors in 1991 and went on to receive a M.S. in Rehabilitation Administration in 1993 from the University of Illinois.