Excited students, faculty, staff and guests filled the Iovine and Young Hall courtyard for the grand opening celebration of the school’s new facilities Wednesday. The new building, which officially opened its doors at the start of the fall semester, includes a collaborative makerspace, a podcast studio and an Alumni Lab that the school’s graduates can use for startups and projects.
IYA Dean Erica Muhl opened the ceremony by thanking the many teams that worked to make the building and Academy a reality. She thanked Iovine and Young for their generous donations to the University and their ideas for the school.
“The two of you gave us the inspiration that has provided us the greater fuel for everything we do,” Muhl said. “We also want to thank you, of course, for the generous gift of resources that make all of this possible.”
The Iovine and Young Academy, USC’s newest school, aims to create a collaborative environment in the areas of arts, technology and business. The Academy was founded in 2013 by Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, more widely known as Dr. Dre.
When the school was first established, all classes took place in “the Garage,” a collaborative work space formerly located on the fourth floor of Steven and Kathryn Sample Hall. The new hall comprises three floors of workspaces, undergraduate and graduate classrooms, conference rooms and a furnished balcony.
During the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, President Carol Folt discussed the importance of IYA and said the program represents an innovative step forward in higher education. She welcomed the creativity the school fosters and praised the Academy’s ability to allow students to think freely.
“We’re at our best when we actually allow people’s imagination to flourish and do what we can to really help people take that innate creativity and talent and put it to use to do solutions that are innovative, sustainable,” Folt said. “In my time here, I know that all of those qualities are what drive our students, our deans and our faculty.”
Xavier Hernandez, an IYA graduate student studying integrated design, business and technology, was excited to see one of his heroes, Dr. Dre.
“It was amazing to see them speak, amazing to [see] their ideas come to fruition with the help of my professors, my administrators, the dean, all the staff [and] all of these amazing minds coming together,” Hernandez said.
After members of The Spirit of Troy closed out the ceremony, Sydney Loew, a sophomore in the Academy, provided tours to visitors.
“Today’s event was jaw-dropping,” Loew said. “I was so amazed to see the founders sitting there. They are just such a huge inspiration to all the students, so seeing them in person was just mind-blowing … I just really feel all the possibilities are endless. I’m so happy that all of us have this place to explore our passions or just brand new things as a whole.”
Luke Pottenger, a senior in the Academy, was inspired to see the support from the USC community. He said he hopes the new facilities increase collaboration across schools.
“It was really momentous at the end of my time at USC,” Pottenger said. “I hope to see more convergence of passion and disciplines. I’m starting to see that USC has that a lot throughout the campus.”
Iovine said the next step for the duo is to look into establishing a high school, giving younger students the opportunity to cultivate their creativity and ideas.
“We’re not educators, we’re cheerleaders,” Iovine said. “If we can catch these kids earlier, that’s even better.”