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Marie Jean Philip was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1953. She attended the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut. She then pursued higher education at Gallaudet College. After graduation, Marie worked for Northeastern University as one of the first Deaf teachers. She went on to receive a BA degree in Linguistics at Northeastern. Marie became the Bilingual-Bicultural Coordinator at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. She was one of the original people to research, study and establish ASL as a recognized Language. She was internationally known for advocating for ASL and Deaf Culture. Marie passed away unexpectedly in 1997.

The ASL & Interpreting Education Program at Northeastern University has had schools from all over the USA and Canada compete in the Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry, Storytelling and Deaf Art Competition. Deaf and Hard of Hearing students from 10- 30 schools and programs across the United States and Canada participate in the annual competition. All winners are announced on at an awards ceremony in mid-April.

The primary goal of this competition is to create a fitting tribute to honor the memory of Marie, the tireless advocate of Deaf children. The second goal of this event is to provide a forum for public recognition of the creativity and talent of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Marie was especially concerned with improving the quality of their education by improving the quality of their signed communication and signed communication of their teachers. We hope this competition will capture and display some of the spirit and enthusiasm for which Marie was well known.