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CCAC Theatre Professor to receive prestigious Legacy Award

Professor George JaberPITTSBURGH—Community College of Allegheny County Theatre Professor and Department Head George Jaber has distinguished himself in his long career as an educator as well as a supporter of the film industry in the Pittsburgh region. His efforts will be recognized on May 12, when Steeltown Entertainment Project will honor Jaber with its Legacy Award at the 2021 Elly Awards Virtual Gala. Each year, Steeltown honors Pittsburgh film education and industry “heroes” with the annual Elly Awards. In the past, the organization has honored filmmakers, supporters, pioneers and innovators such as George Romero, Steve Tolin, Kim Moses and Joanne Rogers as well as institutions such as the Fred Rogers Company. 

“It’s humbling, and it’s nice to be recognized,” said Jaber. “That’s pretty awesome company.” 

Jaber has educated and mentored thousands of students since he started teaching at CCAC in January of 1982. In addition to providing students with a solid foundation of knowledge in theatre, he has taught students how to perform all the essential roles behind the scenes, such as set builder, scenic artist, set dresser, grip, lighting technician, video assistant, wardrobe stylist, location scout and more. Dozens of his students have gone on to find success in the industry, and several have moved to work in other film “hot spots” around the country. 

A brief write-up on Steeltown’s website reads, in part: “George Jaber has been building sets for film and theater since 1974 and just celebrated 40 years of teaching the same at the Community College of Allegheny County. His students ‘learn to work and go to work’ in theater and film and deeply respect George as a teacher and mentor…Steeltown is proud to honor George and recognize his vast and deep contribution to the film arts education and independent film community in Pittsburgh.”

Jaber also spent many years as an active leader of I.A.T.S.E. Studio Mechanics Local #489, and he has worked on building sets for up to 40 titles, including “The Mothman Prophecies,” “The Wonderboys” and George Romero’s “The Dark Half.” He routinely salvaged used scenery from movie sets and brought the materials back to South Campus to use them in the hundreds of shows he has overseen at the college, which include an acclaimed production of August Wilson’s “Fences” in 2016 to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary. 

He has also had an enormous impact on the thousands of CCAC students he has instructed in oral communication and public speaking since 1983. By teaching proper breathing, eye contact and other techniques, he has been able to bring students out of fear and into confidence. 

Jaber credits the college with giving students an opportunity to realize, with effort, their full potential. It has also given him the opportunity to do what he loves—to train students in art and culture and creativity and to expand their horizons.

For more information about the Elly Awards or for tickets to the Gala, visit ellyawards.steeltown.org.