Dorothy Jean Tillman II’s mother, Jimalita, and grandmother, Dorothy, inspired her to earn a doctorate at 17

Dorothy Jean Tillman did not knew her classmates until she appeared in the graduation ceremony as she was attending online classes.


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On May 6, 2024, Dorothy Jean Tillman II became the youngest person to earn a doctorate at 17 from Arizona State University. This was a proud moment for her single mother, Jimalita Tillman, who went as far as to homeschool her daughter and send her to college at 10.

The Tillman family seems to have born leaders, as Dorothy Jean’s grandmother, Dorothy Wright Tillman, is a former Chicago Alderwoman and Civil Rights icon.

Her mother, Jimalita, is the Global Director of Programs and Operations at the Harold Washington Cultural Center.

She inspires other mothers to be their children’s epitome. In one of Jimalita’s Instagram, she mentions her being a proud mother, saying, “A good woman would rather be the mother of a genius than the wife of a hero.”

Even Dorothy Jean credited her mother and grandmother for being her idols during the interview with Good Morning America.

The background of Dorothy Jean Tillman II’s parents and grandparents is truly inspirational

Dorothy Jean Tillman II, known by the alias Dorothy Jeanius, was born on March 18, 2006, to her parents, mother, Jimalita Tillman, and father, whose identity remains undisclosed.

Jean’s words suggest that Jimalita raised her as a single mother. Jean’s grandmother, Dorothy Wright, also led her daughter and granddaughter’s lives as the head of the family.

Dorothy Wright had a major role in Dorothy Jean’s life.

The youngest recalls her grandmother always emphasizing the importance of education and always indulging herself in books and news.

Even Jean’s grandfather, Dr. Jimmy Lee Tillman, is a scholar who has earned a doctorate in education.

He is also a renowned musician, currently famous as the drummer for The Original Chicago Blues All-Stars band.

Meanwhile, Jimalita Tillman attended DePaul University and graduated with theater management and international marketing degrees. She is her parents’ youngest child, as they had a total of five children.

She holds the position of Executive Producer of Broadway in Bronzeville and follows in her mother’s footsteps for Civil Rights advocacy.

Jimalita also received the 2022 Phenomenal Woman Award at Chicago’s Black Women’s Expo, where Dorothy Jean Tillman II was also an honoree.

Dorothy Jean Tillman II was awarded for working to provide for her community and make them proud.

She also advocates for education and is the founder and CEO of Dorothyjeanius STEAM Leadership Institute, which emphasizes the arts and STEM.

Dorothy Jean Tillman earned her associate’s degree at 10, her bachelor’s degree at 12, her master’s at 14, and her doctorate in behavioral health at 17 in December 2023.

Additional Information

  • Dorothy Jean Tillman II is from Chicago, Illinois, while her grandparents were initially from Montgomery, Alabama.
  • She has a double master’s degree in environmental and sustainable science.
  • Dorothy Jean also supports STEAM camps and curriculum importance in Ghana and worldwide for better mental wellness.
Muskan Ghimire
Muskan Ghimire
Muskan Ghimire is an enthusiastic writer, editor, and blogger who likes to share updates on recent political, sports, and entertainment news. She has the writing and editing experience of more than two years. Over this time, she significantly enhanced her writing skills, crafting clear and engaging content. She has also accumulated in-depth knowledge in various niches, making her subject matter expert capable of editing with precision. With time, she has achieved SEO mastery, which lets her optimize content for search engines, improving visibility and ranking. Meanwhile, she has honed her communication skills, thanks to the continuous interactions with writers, bloggers, and show biz professionals, which led to new opportunities and collaborations.


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