GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College honored a suburban Pittsburgh high school media teacher and decorated and accomplished Pittsburgh radio host at its media and communication event on Friday, Feb. 18.
Steve Vinton, a media and communication teacher from Penn-Trafford High School was named Communication and Media Teacher of the Year. based on online voting and a nomination from Thiel College student John Robbins ’24. Six other teacher were nominated.
Vinton received $500, and the school received $500. More than 2,000 votes were cast.
As part of the recognition celebration, Thiel College graduate Jim Cunningham ’77 was given the 2022 James Pedas ’50, H’89 Communications Professional of the Year Award. Cunningham is a senior executive producer at WQED Multimedia. He hosts the WQED-FM Morning Show weekday mornings and the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra broadcasts. The teacher who receives the most votes will be awarded the 2022 James Pedas ’50, H’89 Media Mentor of the Year. Following this year, local high school teachers will be awarded the Jim Cunningham ’77 Media Mentor award.
“All seven of our nominees were amazing. We are excited to highlight Steve Vinton as the communication teacher of the year,” Thiel College Vice President for Enrollment Management Ashley Josay Zullo said. “These teachers represent so much of what is great about education and each has made an indelible impact on our students. We are pleased to shine a light on these worthy candidates with this award, as well as recognize the lasting impact of our alumni on the media and communication professions.”
The awards recognize the contributions of James Pedas ’50, H’89 who was the lead donor for the $6.5 million James Pedas Communication Center, the College’s collaborative learning and media center where students engage in film, TV, radio, news production and other multimedia-rich experiences that prepare them for today’s information society. The Pedas Center is a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified building. Pedas 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 debut and sophomore films of Joel and Ethan Coen, “Blood Simple” (1984) and “Raising Arizona” (1987).
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