Muskingum University is joining with family and friends in celebrating the life of Dr. Arthur J. De Jong, who passed away at age 89 on Jan. 26, 2024. From 1978-1987, he served as President of the University, then known as Muskingum College, immediately preceding Samuel W. Speck, Jr. ’59 in the role.
“Dr. De Jong advanced key aspects of a Muskingum education that are still integral to the experiences of students today,” said Muskingum President Susan S. Hasseler. “Under Dr. De Jong’s leadership, the nationally known PLUS Program for students with learning differences was created, which remains a signature program of the University. In Fall 2023, PLUS program alumni from across the country returned to campus during homecoming to celebrate its 40th anniversary and the tremendous impact the program has had on their lives.”
Dr. De Jong was also a strong supporter of student athletics and recreation, overseeing the construction and 1986 opening of the Recreation Center, known since 2016 as the Anne C. Steele Center. Today the building provides the competition home for Muskingum’s basketball, volleyball, STUNT, and wrestling teams and offers additional athletic and recreational opportunities complementing those available in the Henry D. Bullock Health and Wellness Complex.
Dr. De Jong held a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Geography and an honorary doctorate degree from Central College (Pella, Iowa), a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary (Holland, Michigan), a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Science of Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
After serving Muskingum, Dr. De Jong was the President of Whitworth College (Spokane, Washington) before retiring in 1992 to Black Mountain, North Carolina. In retirement, he devoted his time to wood carving and bowl turning, birding, nature photography, and his family.
The Muskingum community extends its deepest sympathy to Dr. De Jong’s family and friends.