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Stephen Land, founder and CEO of Knoxville-based Jupiter Entertainment, received the 2018 Donald G. Hileman Alumni Award from UT’s College of Communication and Information at the college’s awards and scholarship donor appreciation banquet on November 9.

Stephen Land, 2018 CCI Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient (left) with CCI Dean Mike Wirth
Stephen Land, 2018 CCI Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient (left) with CCI Dean Mike Wirth

Land is among America’s most prolific television creators and producers. During his career, which spans more than two decades, he has developed and produced series and specials for virtually every major media company.

After graduating from UT with a communications degree in 1976, Land went to work for the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. He held a number of positions at the chamber, eventually serving as general manager.

“I was so fortunate to work for the chamber during the World’s Fair. The atmosphere in the community was just electric,” he said.

Land met Ross Bagwell, who had been hired to produce several videos for the chamber, and the two formed a lifelong connection. Bagwell hired Land for Cinetel Productions, placing him in charge of creating shows and pitching them to networks. Over time, Land began to write, produce, and oversee shows for Cinetel and later for Scripps Networks. In 1996, he started Jupiter Entertainment to pursue his passion for storytelling through film.

With offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Knoxville, Jupiter is actively engaged in developing and producing a broad mix of award-winning programs for a host of cable television groups and video streaming services. Among its highly rated series are Sons of Guns(Discovery), Snapped (Oxygen), Wild West Alaska (Animal Planet), Homicide Hunter (ID), Biography (A&E), Welcome to Myrtle Manor (TLC), and Modern Marvels (History).

Land is a former member of the board of trustees/executive committee of the Knoxville Museum of Art, an emeritus member of UT’s College of Communication and Information Board of Visitors, and past commissioner of theTennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. He is actively involved in the Church of the Ascension and Knox Heritage.

“Stephen Land is one of the most talented and prolific individuals in his field,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “He’s had a remarkable career and generously supported our students through such programs as the CCI Land Ambassadors Program. The Hileman Award is fitting recognition for everything he has accomplished and all he has done for CCI, UT, and the Knoxville community.”

The college also honored a notable graduate from each of its schools and programs:

Advertising Alumnus of the Year: Curtis Rose, who earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising in 2003 and now serves as chief operating officer for EP+Co

Communication Studies Alumna of the Year: Heather T. Fasano, who earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies in 2012 and her master’s degree in communication and information in 2015, and is now an associate sales representative in gastroenterology and hepatology for the Carolinas region with Medtronic, a medical device company

Information Sciences Alumna of the Year: Sandra Treadway, who received her master’s degree in information sciences in 2007 and is now the librarian and state archivist of Virginia

Journalism and Electronic Media Alumnus of the Year: Frank Gibson, who received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and history in 1976 and recently retired as public policy director for the Tennessee Press Association

Public Relations Alumna of the Year: Rebecca Huckaby, who received her master’s degree in public relations in 2003 and is now vice president of public relations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority.


Donna Silvey (865-974-6727,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,