Beautiful People: Jack Quinn



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Currently president of Erie Community College (ECC), Jack Quinn has been an English teacher, Hamburg town supervisor, and a Member of the US House of Representatives. Quinn is pleased to be working in higher education, and advises students from all over the community to expect–and welcome–constant change.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

A joint effort between my wife and me–that we’ve been so fortunate to raise two intelligent, generous, caring children. That’s the biggest source of pride in my life, raising children. I’ve got a number of accomplishments in my career because of the business I’ve been in: in 1997, I helped pass the last minimum wage increase with Ted Kennedy. That affected millions of people in a very big way.

Are you a dog or cat person?

(laughing) The only real pet we had with the kids was a goldfish my daughter won at the Erie County Fair when you toss the ping pong balls. That fish lived for ten years, and, when it finally passed, we had a little ceremony. We don’t have grandchildren yet, but we have a grand-dog.

What is the most beautiful place in WNY?

Sunset anywhere on Lake Erie. My wife and I used to view it at Hamburg Beach, but if you’re downtown in Buffalo, it’s just as gorgeous.

Where do you go to experience beauty?

I go home, and when I say home, I mean Buffalo. I was on the road for fifteen years, in Congress for twelve, and lobbied for three while living in Washington. I was so happy to get back to Western New York. There are two groups of people who don’t appreciate WNY: people who’ve never been here, or people who’ve never left. I came home, and we are loving it.

What place in WNY is in need of beautification?

I am going very local on this one: Firemen’s Park–between North and South Division near our downtown campus. Others have referred to it as “Needle Park.” ECC adopted that park and we found out some interesting history about it–it was dedicated to first responders in the 1970s, but it’s been neglected and under-utilized for years. We worked with the fire and police departments and we’ve landscaped it and brought in some new benches. There is a fireman statue that was moved to City Hall several years ago, and we are trying to bring that back to the park. We are going to be working on the park for the next couple of years for sure. I’d love to see our students out there, sitting, and studying. And if people have time while they’re at the bus station, they could sit there and enjoy it. That’s close to home.

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