The Ruth and John Neptune Art Center honors the accomplishments and the generosity of a distinguished Muskingum couple, Dr. John A. Neptune ’42 and Ruth Dorsey Neptune ’40.
The Ruth and John Neptune Art Center is the new home for our Art Department’s program in ceramics, sculpture, and other three-dimensional creative work. The 2400 square-foot building, on a site east of Paul Hall, has been designed to harmonize architecturally with its neighborhood setting. The Neptune Center will provide our students and faculty with spacious state-of-the-art facilities for design and fabrication of ceramics, metals, wood and other malleable materials. The studio features two electric kilns and one gas-fired outdoor kiln, ten pottery wheels, plasma and mig welders and specialized equipment for three-dimensional art processes.
Extensive exhibit shelving installed along the studio’s vaulted ceiling will offer expanded opportunities for display of teaching models and completed student and faculty work.
John Neptune graduate summa cum laude from Muskingum in 1942, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, and joining his mother and brothers as members of the Long Magenta Line. He served his country during World War II, working on the purification of uranium at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the famed Manhattan Project. In 1945, John returned to New Concord to join Muskingum’s Chemistry faculty.
Following her Muskingum graduation in 1940, Ruth Dorsey Neptune earned her Master of Arts in Painting from The Ohio State University. She returned to Muskingum as Chair of the Art Department in 1944.
John and Ruth met and married while both were on the Muskingum faculty. In 1948, they left for the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where John earned his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Chemistry, and Ruth taught art in the public schools.
In 1955, John joined the chemistry faculty of San Jose State University, beginning a stellar 35-year career. He held the H. Murray Clark Chair in Chemistry, served as the Chemistry Department Chair for 13 years, and received numerous research grants from NASA-Ames Research Center and the United States Department of Energy. A Professor Emeritus, he continued to teach even in retirement.
A versatile arts educator, Ruth was a well-known teacher of oil painting, watercolor, fiber arts and mosaics in San Jose. She was a community leader, active in promoting educational opportunities for women and in providing human services for the homeless and needy. Ruth died in 1990. She is survived by her husband, who resides in San Jose, California, and their son, Benjamin Neptune.
In 2004, Dr. John Neptune endowed the Ruth Dorsey Neptune Distinguished Professorship in Fine Arts, in memory of his beloved wife. The Professorship honors Ruth Dorsey Neptune’s lifelong passion as an arts educator, and perpetuates Muskingum’s legacy of educational excellence in the fine arts. Dr. William F. Schlacks, Professor of Music, currently holds the Ruth Dorsey Neptune Distinguished Professorship in Fine Arts.
In 2006, the Professor John A. Neptune Endowment for Scientific Equipment was created at Muskingum College to support Muskingum’s continued tradition of outstanding laboratory science education.