A new type of undergraduate experience will be added to the university as music icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are together giving $70 million to establish the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, according to a statement made by the university.
Longtime friends Dre, born Andre Young, and Iovine co-founded Beats Electronics, a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company.
President C. L. Max Nikias said the academy, which will cover interests in fields including marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science, engineering and audio and visual design, aims to attract students interested in revamping the future of the music industry with new art forms, technologies and business models.
“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media,” Nikias said in a statement. “USC provides an extraordinary rich academic, research and artistic environment. We are committed to encouraging our students to use their intellectual and creative resources to effect change in all segments of society. Our goal is to ensure that the academy is the most collaborative educational program in the world.”
The selective four year program, which will include faculty from the Marshall School of Business, the Roski School of Fine Arts, the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Thornton School of Music, will focus primarily on core curriculum areas: Arts and Entrepreneurship, Technology, Design and Marketability, Concept and Business Platforms and Creating a Prototype.
Roski Dean and inaugural Director of the Iovine & Young Academy Erica Muhl said the curriculum was crafted in order to equip students with the tools needed to excel in multiple disciplines.
“The academy’s core education will create a common, multi-lingual literacy and fluency across essential disciplines,” Muhl said. “This ‘big picture’ knowledge and skill will equip graduates with a leadership perspective that is unparalleled in an undergraduate degree, and that will be applicable to virtually any industry.”
The students’ final year in the academy will be in an experimental setting called the “Garage,” during which students, guided by faculty or other artists and business leaders, will be grouped into self-directed teams in order to develop a prototype over the course of the year.
“The curriculum was created to take full advantage of a newly designed, revolutionary educational space that will offer students very powerful tools,” Muhl said. “Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity.”
The academy is set to enroll its first class of 25 students in Fall 2014.