Alfred State College (ASC) is remembering the life of local businessman and pillar of the Alfred community John Ninos Sr., who passed away on Monday, Feb. 18.
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of ASC, said, “Alfred State is deeply saddened by the loss of John Ninos Sr., a man who touched the lives of so many people within the Alfred community. His impact was felt by countless Alfred State students, employees, and alumni, many of whom have shared with me the fond memories they have of John and The Collegiate Restaurant, which he owned and operated for many years. Alfred State offers its deepest condolences to his loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Indeed, the impact that Ninos has had on Alfred State Pioneers has been felt for many years. At a bench dedication ceremony for Professor Eddy Foster in August of 2008, Alfred State 1956 plant and soil science alum Donald Holzer noted that Ninos, “helped me out while I was a student by hiring me and paying me an incredibly generous salary.” Holzer went on to acknowledge that he was inspired by Ninos’ “spirit of philanthropy and humanity,” which prompted him to donate the memorial bench and to create two Alfred State scholarships.
Additionally, Ninos is being remembered as a strong supporter of Greek life in Alfred. He was known fondly as “Uncle John” by many of the “Greeks” throughout the years, according to a post on Facebook by The Collegiate Restaurant. Ninos’ affection for the students in Alfred is legendary. Visitors to “The Jet,” as the eatery is also known, have no doubt noticed the numerous Greek paddles that adorn the walls there.
Perhaps it was Ninos himself who best summarized his relationship with the colleges and community of Alfred. In an article by the Hornell Evening Tribune in 2009 regarding the fire that leveled the original Collegiate location before relocating, Ninos was quoted as saying, “My relationship with the students, faculty, and residents of Alfred through the years is the greatest reward that I have received for the time and effort that I put into the restaurant, and it continues to be worth more than whatever amount of money that I might have earned.”