Icons launch program


USC will soon welcome a new undergraduate degree program thanks to a $70-million donation from music icons and Beats Electronics co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, commonly known as Dr. Dre.

The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation will cover interests in fields including marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science, engineering and audio and visual design, according to President C. L. Max Nikias.

“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 extraordinarily  rich academic, research and artistic environment. We are committed to encouraging our students to use their intellectual and creative resources to affect 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 on core curriculum areas: arts and entrepreneurship; technology, design and marketability; and concept and business platforms.

Roski Dean and inaugural director of the Iovine and 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, multilingual 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 experiential setting called the Garage, where 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.”

Iovine and Dr. Dre both have connections to USC. Iovine’s daughter is an alumna and Dr. Dre grew up close by in Compton.

The academy is set to enroll its first class of 25 students in fall 2014.

  • Susette Fisher

    USC is fortunate to have such a donation and program. The $70 mil could have gone to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and many have lamented that it didn’t. I only hope this program develops the talents of those behind the scenes of the music world. As an alum of USC, I thank Beats by Dre’s team for this contribution and hope at least the USC Black Alumni Assn. will be tapped to help guide this program.