Collaborative workspace inside the James Pedas Communication Center
The $6.5 million James Pedas Communication Center is a collaborative learning community where students engage in film, TV, radio, news production and other multimedia-rich experiences preparing them for today’s information society.
Students from all majors will acquire communication literacy and presentation skills to prepare them for what comes next.
Building features include sophisticated labs and studios, dynamic classrooms and learning spaces, a new Office of Admission and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The official dedication is Saturday, October 4 during Homecoming Weekend.
Dr. James “Jim” Pedas ’50 H’89 (right) and his brother Ted, 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.
President VanAken, Ted Pedas and Jim Pedas