Netter Worthington, 84; Painter Started the Floating Campus

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From Times Staff Reports

Netter Worthington, 84, a Southern California oil painter and art educator who pioneered the floating campus, died of cancer May 3 at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

Born in Salt Lake City, Worthington earned art degrees from the University of Michigan and Cal State Long Beach. He served in the Army during World War II and studied painting in France and Mexico City.

In 1958, he joined the faculty of Chapman College in Orange. Seven years later, he launched Chapman’s innovative World Campus Afloat, offering courses aboard a ship that took budding artists to 16 ports in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


In 1969, Worthington moved to San Diego to become director of logistics for the overseas programs of United States International University, now known as Alliant International University. He was named dean of the school’s performing and visual arts section in 1975, and later directed the university’s London and Mexico City campuses before retiring in 1990.

Throughout his career as an educator and administrator, Worthington continued to paint.

In 1982, traveling in India on a Fulbright-Hayes scholarship, he created a series of oils that became part of the book “The Same Air,” published in 1997.

He exhibited those paintings in San Diego, and presented one-man shows at galleries in Del Mar, where he made his home.