Robert Bruce Ray
Class of ’65 Business Management
Former President and Chairman
Ray Products Company, Inc.
Bruce Ray has been an integral member of the Cal
Poly Pomona community since he began his educational
quest in 1961, enrolling as a landscape architecture
student. He soon changed his major to business
administration, deciding to follow his parents’
footsteps in the family plastics company, Ray
Products, which began in the late 1940s.
“Bruce initially chose landscape architecture
because of his love for gardening, but he decided to
make a change when he failed a plant identification
test,” says Marilyn Ray, his wife and former Cal Poly Pomona employee. “He laughed at
the fact that his inability to identify shrubbery led him to his true career path — business
Ray always exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit. He was mowing lawns and delivering
newspapers at a very early age and investing his earnings. He learned about plastics handson,
working for his parents’ company after school and in the summer. Immediately after graduation
in 1965, Ray joined the company full-time as controller, eventually buying the company
in 1975 and becoming its president. The company moved from El Monte to expanded facilities
in Ontario in 1995. Ray was highly respected in the plastics industry and served as treasurer
on the National Board of the Society of Plastics Industry and chair of the Thermoforming
Institute. He was named Western Region Man of the Year in 1995. In addition, he also served
for many years on the board of the Family Counseling Center in San Gabriel.
Ray also maintained extremely close ties with Cal Poly Pomona, particularly as a
member of the College of Business Administration’s Leadership Council and the
Technology and Operations Management (TOM) Department Advisory Board.
“He cared deeply about giving back to his community and to education,” says Marilyn
Ray, who notes that Ray was named the Distinguished Alumnus for the TOM Department
in 2000. “He loved attending functions and encouraging students to develop strong personal
and professional relationships. He especially enjoyed being a Professor for a Day.”
Ray’s commitment to students continues to this day. At the time of his death in 2004,
he was in the process of establishing a scholarship endowment for business administration
students, and that has become a reality through the generosity of his family and
friends. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and two daughters, two sons, one step-son
and seven grandchildren.