The vibrancy of the Eastown Neighborhood today would certainly please this visionary Sister if she were to stroll through the residential areas and along Lake Drive bustling with restaurants, shops, and healthy lifestyle centers.

While at Aquinas College, Jean Paul Tilmann, OP, saw an opportunity to improve the lives of the citizens living in proximity to Aquinas College. She began studying the Eastown neighborhood and served as director of the Eastown Project which led to establishment of the Eastown Community Association, an endeavor which helped stabilize the neighborhood in which she lived.

As an educator, her discipline was geography. Sister Jean Paul had a relentless commitment to learn, develop, and contribute. She earned a Ph.D from the University of Michigan based on her dissertation on the geographic contributions of Albertus Magnus. She championed the cause of geography at Aquinas College and created the geography major soon after she joined the faculty in 1965.

Raised on a farm with two brothers and three sisters, Jean Paul learned at an early age to share much and to love and enjoy the beauty, simplicity, and marvels of the earth – soil, water, clouds – and people. So it seemed natural that she would spend much of her life studying and teaching environmental studies and geography. We are grateful for the blessings this warm, wonderful Sister shared with us during her lifetime and for her contribution to the legacy of the vibrant Eastown Neighborhood.


†Sister Jean Paul Tilmann, OP