USC hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Iovine and Young Hall on Wednesday at the intersection of Watt Way and Exposition Boulevard. The building is scheduled to open in 2019, and will host students from the Iovine and Young Academy — previously an interdisciplinary major, and now a full school at USC.
Music producers Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young — also known as Dr. Dre — donated $70 million in 2013 to create the academy, according to USC News. Students who complete the highly selective program receive degrees in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, and came out of USC with at least one startup or idea in progress.
“I hope at this school, we can help our students to dream big, execute and build the courage to stay in the saddle,” Iovine said at Wednesday’s event. “I’m hoping that it will bring to them independence of thought to be able to work in the world between technology and liberal arts.”
President C. L. Max Nikias said USC started the Academy four years ago to create a revolutionary and disruptive program for students.
He added that USC wanted to cultivate an academic environment where students could increase their capabilities and strengths in varying fields: the arts, humanities, business and technology.
“Today, the Iovine Academy begins a new chapter — breaking ground on the kind of home that its spectacular students deserve,” Nikias said in his opening statement.
“I think [the new hall] will be a way of making the academy more ‘official’ at USC,” said Valentina Suarez, a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. “Once the building is up, I’ll be excited to just be able to go in and work in the workshops or do homework in the study rooms.”
Academy students currently have a temporary workspace called “The Garage” in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
Every year, The Garage has a blank mural wall for students to draw out designs in order to foster their creativity and artistic abilities. The Garage features computer workstations, 3D scanners and printers, studios and labs.
Iovine and Young Hall’s new, estimated 10,000-square-foot space will include labs and studios to record music and to create films, six classrooms and study spaces.
“The new hall is going to open a ton of new opportunities for creative makerspace,” said Anthony Yin, a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. “The IYA Hall is going to have a great studio for sound recording, which is very important for me because I do a lot of music-related extracurriculars.”
After Nikias’ opening speech, Iovine spoke about how he and Young wanted to create the school in order to start a new paradigm for academic achievement. Iovine said he supported the endeavors and innovation ideas for all the current and future Academy students. Then, Nikias gifted a colored drawing of the new hall to Iovine and Young.
While this year’s Academy graduates will not be able to experience the new building, a USC Alumni Lab will be created for them to use.
The ceremony ended with Iovine and Young Academy Dean Erica Muhl, Iovine, Young and Nikias “breaking the ground,” and a performance by the Trojan Marching Band.