In addition to her rewarding 29-year career at State Farm, Jean Baird '80 enjoys outdoor adventures, including a memorably exciting climb of the daunting Long's Peak in the Colorado Rockies.

Your hometown? Kewanee, Illinois – the Hog Capital of the World!
Why Wesleyan? I could pursue all of my academic and athletic interests.  The smaller class sizes and the engagement of the professors were very appealing.
Your major? French, because I was interested in studying abroad.  I spent my entire junior year studying at the Université of Paris – Sorbonne.  My language skills are still good enough to get by when traveling in France and French-speaking countries.
After Wesleyan? I did graduate work in linguistics at Georgetown University before beginning my career at State Farm Insurance as a computer programmer.  I completed my MBA at the University of Illinois.
Biggest thrill or memory? At Illinois Wesleyan, my biggest thrill had to be my state victory in the 800-meter run as a sophomore.  My best memory is my Sigma Kappa sorority sisters and all of the hilarious times we had together.  We could laugh about nothing and just hang out on a Friday night entertaining ourselves.
For fun? I really do still love to run, so putting on my shoes and getting outside (in any weather) for some fresh air is a must for me.  My husband and I also enjoy hiking, golfing, biking and pretty much anything outdoors.  We also love to travel to explore new locations.
The best? Hiking in Colorado, especially Aspen; climbing Camelback Mountain in Phoenix; golfing in Arizona; anything that involves sun and mountains!
Favorite book? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – it makes you realize your family is more normal than you think.
Favorite band? Candy Dulfer – she wails on the saxophone!
Favorite quote? “Keep it simple.” — Not sure who said it, but it’s a great reminder for me when life’s pace becomes hectic to just relax and simplify things.
Jean Baird
Jean Baird '80 has served as president of the Illinois Wesleyan Alumni Association and is a member of the University's Board of Trustees. She co-chairs the Transforming Lives campaign.

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