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RMU Mourns the Loss of Colonial Theatre Founder

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tom-GaydosThe Robert Morris University Community mourns the loss of Thomas V. Gaydos, (February 14, 1932 – August 10, 2014) Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Colonial Theatre.

As executive producer of the Robert Morris Colonial Theatre for 30 years, Gaydos combined producing, directing, acting, writing and teaching to create exiting and fulfilling experiences for his students. His intelligence, charm and talent distinguished him as an outstanding asset to the Robert Morris community.

The son of a Russian orthodox priest, Gaydos graduated from high school in Masontown, Pa. in 1950 and studied literature at Harvard. There he began acting and upon graduation received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. His classmates at the Royal Academy included Albert Finney, Brian Bedford and Peter O’Toole. He acted in New York City, Hollywood, and returned to Pittsburgh as a drama teacher at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

In 1967, Former Robert Morris President Charles Sewall invited Gaydos, then graduate student in literature at the University of Pittsburgh, to create a community theater and a performing arts program in a small, two-story Dutch Colonial barn located in the center of campus. Gaydos established a production program that featured talented student performers as well volunteer actors and actresses from the tri-state area, staging more than a dozen productions each year. 

In 1986, a fire destroyed the Barn theater, but Gaydos’ leadership and resilience saw a new home for performing arts open in Massey Hall in 1992.

Gaydos retired from Robert Morris in 1997, and the institution honored “a man with the highest standards of personal character, ethical behavior and professional practice” with a student scholarship in his name. He moved to Orlando Florida, where he lived until his passing on August 10, 2014. 

Contributions in memory of Gaydos can be made to his scholarship fund at RMU. Go to to contribute.