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home : news : news   April 29, 2016

4/26/2013 6:03:00 AM
Manufacturer, philanthropist, LPO grad gives $50,000 to IVCC

For the NewsTribune

By IVCC public relations

A self-made international success story, philanthropist and aviation parts pioneer recently rewarded his former school, Illinois Valley Community College, with a $50,000 gift.

Ralph Scriba of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., a 1951 alumnus of IVCC predecessor La Salle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College, made the donation to the Peter Miller Community Technology Center capital campaign and alumni development efforts.

“Rem-arkably, Ralph Scriba reached out to us to see how he could help the college,” IVCC president Jerry Corcoran said in a press release this week. “This is the third largest capital campaign contribution we’ve received and it will have a significant impact in our new building.

“I look forward to getting to know this fine gentleman and to him becoming a revered member of our college and Foundation family,” Corcoran added.
Scriba grew up on his family’s farm between La Salle and Mendota and attended La Salle-Peru High School one year before attending Mendota High School. He graduated from MHS in 1945.

He served in the Navy at the tail-end of World War II and was discharged in 1948. After LPO graduation, he took a vacation to California and stayed there to work for Douglas Aircraft.

In 1956, he left Douglas to found Swift-Cor in his garage. Swift-Cor made parts for all major aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing. By the time he sold the company after 43 years in 2000, Swift-Cor employed 300 in greater Los Angeles and Wichita, Kan., and also was making computer terminal enclosures.

A 2001 feature in Industry Today said in 1956 Scriba was, “… a young engineer with the vision to recognize that companies needed manufactured tools — and they needed them fast. Today the once-fledgling company is entering another phase of the ascending growth it has enjoyed since taking flight 44 years ago.”

Haas Machine’s website said, “The founder of Swift-Cor Tools and Engineering used to quip that he knew Orville Wright personally. Perhaps he wasn’t joking. To many in the industry, it seems the company Ralph Scriba founded during the heady post-World War II aviation era in Southern California has been around forever — or at least since the days when Donald Douglas and Jack Northrop sent (Scriba) worksheets with their own initials penciled in the ‘drawn by’ box.

Since retiring, Scriba has devoted his life to philanthropy through the Ralph Scriba Family Foundation and Scriba Enterprises — industrial properties, office buildings and residential developments in California, Arizona and Texas.

Despite having few living connections to the Illinois Valley, he still holds great affection for the area.

“Those are my roots. I have a strong sentiment about that. I still feel at home in the Illinois Valley even though I’ve been away 60 years,” he told IVCC.
Scriba and his wife of more than 60 years, the former Loraine Jablonski of Ladd, still golf almost daily.

“Ralph is kind and exceedingly generous,” said Fran Brolley, IVCC director of community relations and development. “His giving is not motivated by personal recognition; he invests his resources in humane causes.”

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