TV/Film professor reflects on a long career in education and induction into NATAS

The dedication, passion and 28 years of education to students in the Radio TV Film Industry has earned Professor John Hildebrand an induction into the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle (NATAS).

“I was shocked when I heard,” said Hildebrand regarding the recognition.

This award is given to educators who have dedicated at least 25 years to either a performing, creative, technical or administrative role in the TV or film area. An application to be considered is required.

The news was sent to Hildebrand from a former student, Jeanne Scott, who is an officer on the Board of Governors for NATAS Pacific Southwest Region.

Hildebrand said he is unsure who submitted his nomination.

“I have trained a number (of people) in the industry.They must have got word I was retiring,” he said.

The Associate Professor and Co Chair for the Radio and Television Department, Laura Castaneda said “John deserves this award.”

“He’s given his heart and soul to the Radio TV Department at City College for 28 years. He’s passed on his knowledge to more than 10,000 students over the span of his career,” Castaneda continued.

Hildebrand started his career with his own music studio in the early ’80s.

One day, a representative from Southwestern College visited his studio with a survey. The college was considering adding recording arts classes, Hilderbrand jumped to the opportunity to teach and applied to teach at Southwestern’s new program.

He began teaching at Southwestern in 1980 and at the same time enrolled at San Diego State University to earn his California Community College Teaching Credential.

Soon, City College caught Hildebrand’s eye with Jazz Live. He enrolled in the class and began teaching it the following semester.

“I became a freeway flyer,” said Hildebrand. “I drove from campus to campus every week.”

Finally, in the 1988-89 academic year, he became a full time City professor.

Hildebrand has taught a variety of classes throughout the years. Currently he teaches Media Audio, Radio, Digital Audio Post and Motion Picture Production.

Hildebrand said audio is his favorite class to teach. “I like it. It is near and dear to my heart.” He describes it as “fun” and “creative.”

After 28 years of dedication in teaching, it seems he has become his work.

“His expertise in Audio has helped students create some savvy projects, many which have won awards over the years,” Castaneda said. “He is also one of the most patient instructors I have ever met. He always makes time for his students.”

This recognition is presented as Hildebrand announces his retirement from teaching.

Long time colleague Castaneda agrees this couldn’t arrive at a better time.

“He will be missed around here, but we all agree that we want him to enjoy life. I often joke with him that when the C building gets renovated I’ll make sure he gets a tree named in his honor in the courtyard.”

When asked about retirement, Hildebrand considers it with a smile. “Life is next.” He plans to travel and keep busy. “I have plenty of hobbies,” he said.

NATAS will feature a newsletter with all of the latest Emmy news and winners in May including recognition for Hildebrand. It can be found at

On Sept. 25, a luncheon at the San Diego Women’s Club will be held to honor all of the recipients of the Silver and Gold Awards.

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TV/Film professor reflects on a long career in education and induction into NATAS