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Editorial – Eli Luria’s loving legacy

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City College owes an invaluable debt of gratitude to the late Eli Luria.

Luria, a college trustee for 27 years, donated some $2 million to the college over their 40-year love affair.

But his impact on the college was greater than any dollar amount.

When questions concerning facilities came up at board meetings, all heads turned to Luria. Aside from being an extremely successful developer, Luria was a tireless artist. His sense of aesthetics provided this college with one of the most picturesque views in the country.

In contrast, his sharp mind helped build one of the most academically sound core of professors teaching at the two-year level.

Luria bridged the divide between wealthy developer-friends and the college’s financial and structural gaps. He was influential in bringing major donors to the college. Longtime friends Michael Towbes and Barry Berkus continue to give generously.

Luria leaves a void in his wake that must be filled for City College to maintain its relationship with community donors. But whom are we kidding? We cannot and should not expect anybody to fill it.

The demographics of Santa Barbara’s wealthy community are changing. With so many organizations competing for benefactors, Luria’s love and dedication to City College will be deeply missed.

Compiled below are just some of the many contributions Luria made to City College.

He co-chaired the $3.8-million bond drive that funded the land purchase of West Campus. A true visionary, Luria saw the importance of securing this land before fellow developers could build multimillion-dollar estates there.

Luria was instrumental in raising money to build the Luria Library on West Campus, donating $250,000 himself. Considering inflation, that amount would total some $600,000 in today’s economy.

He also helped fund upgrades to the La Playa Stadium entrance and the proposed stadium media center.

Luria provided the plans to create the decorative stone entrances on West and East campuses. So in a sense, a part of him will always be here to greet new students, as he did for so many years. He contributed to the construction of the Luria Bell Tower atop the Business-Communication Center.

The Schott and Wake centers both received funding for their landscaping from Luria. The Wake Center’s Luria Glass Arts Studio would not exist without him.

Luria also made gifts to general scholarship funds, Hotel Restaurant & Culinary Improvement Fund, the football team, women’s golf, music department, Continuing Education, Dorantes lecture fund, Homie Turf to Surf, and Friends of the Luria Library.

His general concern for the wellbeing of students culminated in several campus-wide scholarships. The interest alone on these donations will help fund students’ two-year educations for years to come.

He continues to give through three scholarships: the President’s Scholarship, Luria Japanese Language Scholarship and Luria Study Abroad Scholarship. The Foundation, which Luria helped create, will establish scholarships in studio art and general studies in his honor.

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Editorial – Eli Luria’s loving legacy