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Collaborative Communicators

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New Karambelas Media and Communication Center Launches New Era

By Vicki Mayk MFA ’13 and Sarah Bedford ’17

Karambelas cover

A centralized newsroom with computers and meeting space in the Karambelas Media and Communication Center promotes a collaborative environment for students. (Photos in this section by Earl and Sedor Productions)

Wilkes junior communication studies major J.M. Rey has a window on the world these days – at least the world outside the new Clayton and Theresa Karambelas Media and Communication Center. Rey, production director for campus radio station WCLH, has gone from being on-the-air in cramped quarters in a hard-to-find area of the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center to a spacious- state-of-the art studio that looks out on the street through tall windows at 141 S. Main St. Passersby can hear WCLH’s programming broadcast from speakers placed outside.

“Now people walking by can see you, say hi, and promote the station,” Rey says. “Now when you’re doing a live show they can hear what you’re playing out in the street. It’s just great to hear reactions and see people jamming out and everything; it’s just so cool.”

Rey sums up his first reaction to seeing the new facility in three words: “My jaw dropped.” His reaction is shared by many who visit the new center. Dedicated in August, the $4 million, 14,000-square-foot center houses the communication studies program, consolidating all classes and activities into one modern facility where students can collaborate across media disciplines. Previously, the co-curricular activities that enhance students’ academic experience, such as The Beacon newspaper, WilkesNow television program and Zebra Communications, the student-run public relations agency, were scattered in various locations around campus.

The center is named in honor of Clayton and Theresa Karambelas who made one of the largest gifts in Wilkes history to support the project. Clayton Karambelas earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wilkes College in 1949. He and his wife Theresa are the previous owners of the Boston Candy Shop & Restaurant and C.K. Coffee. In 2016, they were honored with the University’s President’s Medal, presented annually to individuals whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of Wilkes University.

The new center is designed to promote a collaborative experience for students, according to Mark Stine, professor and chair of the communication studies department.

Convergence in the media and in the communication-related fields is a reality that’s upon us. This center gives students the opportunity to work in an integrated environment to learn and practice the collaborative skills they’ll need in order to thrive in today’s communication industries,” Stine says.


Features of the new Karambelas Media and Communication Center include:

  • new, state-of-the-art equipment;
  • a radio studio visible from the street;
  • a centralized newsroom to serve all student media;
  • a high-definition television studio with theater-style viewing;
  • classrooms equipped with ceiling-mounted cameras for critiquing public speaking classes;
  • a production control room, which manages the composition of outgoing television programming.


Students walk past the centralized newsroom and meeting space in the new  in the Karambelas Media and Communication Center.

Student leaders from the communication studies student organizations share their enthusiasm for their new home.

Zawadi Nshimirmana: Senior, Communications Studies


  • Vice President of Client Relations, Zebra Communications
  • Concentrations: Strategic Communication, Multimedia Journalism
  • Hometown: Bethlehem, Pa.

“I just want to say thank you to the donors, because not everybody has that kind, warm heart and not everybody would be willing to do this big thing for us to make our dreams come true.”

Karambelas teaching

Above, the viewing room in the new center provides facilities for viewing and critiquing programs, watching political debates for rhetoric classes and a host of other possibilities.

Karambelas Beacon

Members of The Beacon staff meet in their new offices to prepare for next week’s edition. From left, faculty advisor Kalen Chrurcher ’96, standing left, coaches a reporter while staff members life, arts and entertainment editor Amanda Bialek, seated, editor Toni Pennello and news editor Cabrini Rudnick confer.

J.M. Rey: Junior, Communications Studies


  • Production Director for 90.7 WCHL
  • Concentration: Media Production
  • Hometown: Wilkes-Barre

“It’s going to allow us to more easily pull people from other departments within the communications major to work on stories together, for example—I’m really excited about that. If we have a story going on at TheBeacon or at WilkesNow, we can get something and run it on the radio as well. It’s going to allow for a lot more teamwork, which is a great thing.”

Toni Penello: Senior, Communications Studies


  • Editor-in-Cheif, The Beacon
  • Concentration: Multimedia Journalism
  • Hometown: Tobyhanna, Pa.

“One of the main things that I like about it is that everybody is in one place now. We were all over campus…so I didn’t feel like we had a place to be a community… I think it’s important that we all know each other, for networking purposes and for that sense of community.”

Karambelas radio

WCHL staff members, from left, Kendle Peters and J.M. Rey discuss progamming in a bigger, brighter studio overlooking South Main Street, with their advisor Kristen Rock ’06.

Jerome Hannon: Junior, Communications Studies

Karambelas Hannon

  • President of Speech, Speech and Debate
  • Concentration: Public Relations and Broadcast Production
  • Hometown: Wilkes-Barre

“It means to me… another degree of professionalism. … This is a communication and media center. This is where we can go to grow and define our talents. This is our capital; it means a lot to my impression of our department to see this. It feels like an amazing step forward.”


Karambelas professor

Mark Stine, professor and chair of the communication studies department, gives feedback to students in the new production studio. New digital equipment and monitors give students experience in a setting comparable to commercial studios.


Members of the speech and debate team practice while being coached by faculty. Pictured from left are Christopher Smith, Jerome Hannon, Olivia Fakhoury, Christine Mellon, faculty of practice in communication studies and Mia Briceño, assistant professor, communication studies.

Micaela Oliverio: Senior, Communications Studies and Musical Theatre, double major


  • Director, WilkesNow
  • Concentration: Media Production
  • Hometown: Carlisle, Pa.

“I got really excited because I get to learn all new equipment and it’s up to date, so if I do this in the real world, I’ll be familiar with (working on) a set and behind the scenes. It will provide students with a better sense of the real world once they graduate.”

Karambelas studio

The television studio is designed to offer maximum flexibility in configuring space for programs and the latest lighting capabilities.


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