Thiel College

Current Projects

Professor David Miller Endowment

Join Thiel College in the initiative to raise $1 million to endow an academic chair in name and in honor of David Miller, professor of economics and business administration and Norman P. Mortensen Chair of Economics.

“The naming of a chair for an individual is one of the highest honors a college can bestow. This recognition is a lasting and powerful affirmation of Professor Miller’s unquestioned integrity, dedication and long-standing connection to Thiel College’s mission. This is the first time Thiel College has undertaken an effort like this to fund an academic chair and it is fitting that is for a one-of-a-kind person like Professor Miller.” – President VanAken

About Professor Miller

Miller is a 1961 graduate of Thiel College and has been teaching at the school since 1963. He is the longest serving professor in Thiel College’s 148-year history. Miller has had the largest faculty student advising load for the last 20 years, covering nearly 10 percent of the 1,100 students on campus. He has taught more classes, advised more students and served more years than any professor in Thiel College’s history.

Miller earned his MBA in 1962 from the University of Pittsburgh where he was awarded a full fellowship. Miller has served as the director of the Haller Enterprise Institute since its inception as the Thiel Enterprise Institute. He is the first professor to hold an endowed academic chair at Thiel; is the 1990 recipient of the Sears-Roebuck Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award; and in October 1999, he received the Service to Thiel Award from the Thiel Alumni Association.

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James Pedas Communication Center

James Pedas Communication Center

The long-term need and vision for a state-of-the-art communication center has been well established at Thiel. The center's primary benefactor, Trustee Emeritus Dr. James Pedas '50, provided his initial gift for this project in 2006.

The Pedas Communication Center is not just a "bricks-n-mortar" project. What was initially conceived as a resource for Communications majors has blossomed into an academic hub for all Thiel students to develop communication proficiencies for successful careers and lives. Situated in the heart of Thiel's campus, the center will greet prospective students, their parents and other college guests.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is being pursued through the construction and operation of The Pedas Communication Center.

As part of Thiel's commitment to "green" stewardship, LEED certification demonstrates the College's efforts to conserving energy, reducing water consumption, improving indoor air quality, making better building material choices, driving innovation and reducing costs.

Features of the new building include:

  • A new Admissions Office
  • Media-rich environment with sophisticated labs and studios
  • Dynamic classrooms and learning spaces

With such resources at their disposal, Thiel graduates will be among the most prepared for an increasingly complex world, meeting the challenges that await them and thriving in their chosen field. If you'd like to contribute to the Pedas Communication Center, contact the Office of College Advancement at 724-589-2160 or

About James Pedas

James and Ted PedasJames "Jim" Pedas (right) and his brother Ted (left), have a long history in the entertainment industry. In the 1950s, he and Ted established Colt 45 Records, a recording company that launched the musical career of Don Covay (who wrote "Chain of Fools" and "Mercy Mercy" among others). The Pedas brothers later partnered to acquire several drive-in movie theatres. Later, with another partner, they bought a film distribution franchise and never looked back. They have been involved in numerous film ventures over the years including owning the Circuit/Showcase theatre circuit; owning a small part of Cinema 5 Ltd.; forming their own distribution company, Circle Releasing Corp., and forming their own production company, Circle Films, which was one of the foremost backers of 1990s American independent cinema. Among their most noted productions are the Coen brothers' debut and sophomore films, "Blood Simple" (1984) and "Raising Arizona" (1987). They also formed Circle Management Company to oversee their investments in real estate and commercial development and Circle Parking to operate parking facilities in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Farrell, Pa., native earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from Thiel College and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Accomplishment in 1980. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Thiel and was named trustee emeritus to the Board of Trustees. He has received many awards for his work including Washingtonian of the Year (1973) and the American University's Award for Contribution to Film Culture (1985). He is a supporter of many philanthropic endeavors, including establishing an Intellectual Property Chair at George Washington Law School. He has served as a director of the National Capital Bank of Washington since 1973.

Groundbreaking (May 4, 2013)