Siena College is honored to have the opportunity to recognize Mr. John Nigro, a leader in the business community of the Capital Region of New York State, who has contributed most significantly by his active support and leadership to numerous non-profit organizations, to improving the lives of many of our fellow citizens and enhancing our community.

Mr. John Nigro is the President of Nigro Companies, a commercial real estate development and management company based in Albany, New York. Mr. Nigro was born and brought up in the food business. His grandfather, an Italian immigrant, founded a small grocery store in downtown Albany in 1927 that eventually grew to the 15-store Albany Public Markets chain. After the supermarket chain was sold in 1967, Mr. Nigro remained as company Vice President and then took on the role of President. In 1974, he began a career in the real estate business, which was to eventually become Nigro Companies. Today, the company owns and manages many commercial properties throughout northeastern New York State and Massachusetts, specializing in shopping centers.

Nigro Companies has developed local properties including The Shoppes at Greenbush Commons in North Greenbush, Rensselaer County Plaza in East Greenbush, University Plaza in Albany, PriceRite Plaza in Queensbury, and the Hannaford Plazas in Albany, Rotterdam, and Saratoga. Mr. Nigro's company also developed Bethlehem Town Center in Glenmont which includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Lowe's Home Improvement Store. Also, Nigro Companies acquired, expanded and redeveloped the Shops of Malta, Gateway Plaza in Ogdensburg and Arsenal Plaza in Watertown, all anchored by a Price Chopper supermarket.

Mr. Nigro is a Board Member and past Chair of the Strategic Initiatives Committee at the Center for Economic Growth, an Albany-based business development group. He played a key role in securing the $6.2 million state grant for a two-gate addition to the Albany International Airport, which was pivotal to luring Southwest Airlines. Other focuses of the Committee have been the Rensselaer Rail Station, the Watervliet Arsenal and Nanotechnology in the Capital Region.

Mr. Nigro also currently serves as Vice Chair of the Siena College Board of Trustees, as well as a Director of the Albany Medical Center / Albany Medical College; a Trustee of the Albany Symphony Orchestra; a Director of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Boy Scouts of America and The Capital Region Youth Tennis Foundation. He is an Honorary Trustee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; a member of the New York State Legislative Ethics Commission; and Chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Northeastern New York.

A Capital Region Business Hall of Fame Inductee, Mr. Nigro is the recipient of the J. Spencer Standish Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the United Way of Northeastern New York; the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen's Award; the Hudson Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities' Higher Education Service Award; Equinox's Quasar Award for Corporate Support; the YMCA's President's Award; and the Community Partnership Award from Wildwood Programs, Inc.

In recognition of a lifetime of achievement in business, as well as for his personal support and leadership of various academic, community, cultural, and government organizations that support the common good, Siena College awards Mr. John J. Nigro, the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.