Music Industry Icons and Entrepreneurs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Give $70 Million to Create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation

May 15, 2013

Undergraduate academy creates entirely new model for training and inspiring a new generation of innovators

Contact: USC Media Relations (213) 740-2215 or allison.engel@usc.edu

LOS ANGELES — Entrepreneurs and music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (Andre Young), already known as forward-thinking visionaries in music and business, are giving $70 million to the University of Southern California to create a unique undergraduate experience.

The duo’s gift will establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, an exceptional environment for those rare undergraduate students whose interests span fields such as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design and the arts. This program will prepare them to become a new generation of inspired innovators.

The goal of the academy is to shape the future by nurturing the talents, passions, leadership and risk-taking of uniquely qualified students who challenge conventional views of art and industry. The academy will attract students who are motivated to explore and create new art forms, technologies and business models — and who will benefit from a stimulating environment that fosters exploration and discovery beyond traditional educational and disciplinary boundaries.

“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “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 effect change in all segments of society. Our goal is to ensure that the academy is the most collaborative educational program in the world.”

To meet student interests and to meld inspiration with education, the academy’s specially designed new courses will provide students with a solid background in the integration of technology with all aspects of creativity along with a thorough understanding of existing and potential business, marketing and distribution strategies.

Drawing on the expertise of top faculty from the USC Marshall School of Business, Roski School of Fine Arts, Viterbi School of Engineering and Thornton School of Music, the academy also will host industry icons and innovators as visiting faculty and guest speakers. It will offer a highly select group of students an integrated, four‑year course of study that will provide in-depth learning in, engineering and computer science, fine arts and graphic design, business and leadership models. Team-taught interdisciplinary courses will be developed and adapted specifically for the program.

The Iovine and Young Academy will focus on four core curriculum areas: Arts and Entrepreneurship; Technology, Design and Marketability; Concept and Business Platforms; and Creating a Prototype.

The four-year academic program will include one-on-one faculty mentoring, opportunities to interact with luminaries from the arts and entertainment industry serving as guest speakers and lecturers, and a broad array of internship opportunities for students.

During their fourth and final year, academy students will take up residence in a uniquely designed experiential setting, the “Garage.” Grouped into self-directed teams, which may include non-academy students from across the university, these students will determine a project that can be developed into a prototype over the course of the year.

Appropriate faculty members, other artists and business leaders will serve as mentors to each group, and venture capitalists and other real-world experts will be introduced to give students advice and direction. All of these elements will combine into one extraordinary educational experience, where working together, students will challenge one another to take even greater risks in innovation.

“Flexibility is a hallmark of USC, and the academy’s curriculum is incredibly adaptive,” said Erica Muhl, Dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, who will serve as inaugural director of the USC Iovine and Young Academy. “The curriculum was created to take full advantage of a newly designed, revolutionary educational space that will offer students very powerful tools.  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’s core education will create a common, multi-lingual literacy and fluency across essential disciplines. 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,” said Muhl.

USC’s strategic location in Los Angeles, widely viewed as the creative and media capital of the world, provides an unrivaled opportunity for students to take advantage of a living laboratory where music, film and visual arts are deeply intertwined. In addition, the university’s proximity to the city’s burgeoning “Silicon Beach” as well as Northern California’s Silicon Valley provides access to a vast array of technological advances from which students can draw inspiration.

The academy will enroll its first class of 25 students in fall 2014. Applicants will be accepted based on a rigorous review process encompassing demonstrated academic excellence as well as proven ability for original thought. Students who complete a course of study in the academy will graduate with a degree that recognizes each individual’s ability to truly engage and to succeed in an educational experience that is constantly asking the question, “Why not?”

About the benefactors

Jimmy Iovine, the Chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records unit, and co-founder of Beats Electronics, is one of the music industry’s most accomplished and respected leaders. Iovine began his four-decade career as a recording engineer, working with the likes of John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. As record producer, he was instrumental in the career breakthroughs of artists such as Patti Smith, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and U2, as well as Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits and The Pretenders.

Iovine co-founded Interscope records in 1990, widely regarded as the home of music’s greatest artists, including Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Marilyn Manson, The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, 50 Cent and Lady Gaga. With the rise of hip-hop, alternative culture, and technology, Iovine didn’t rest on his legacy but instead used his credibility and integrity to transform Interscope into the multi-media powerhouse it is today.

In 2006, Iovine and hip-hop pioneer/producer Dr. Dre co-founded Beats Electronics, a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio. With its expansion into smartphones and car audio systems, today Beats by Dr. Dre has captured 40 percent market share of the entire billion-dollar headphones industry. Iovine plans to expand the Beats brand and reputation into the digital music space with a new service slated to launch in late 2013.

Since 2011, Iovine has shared his insight and expertise with contestants on Fox’s ratings blockbusterAmerican Idol.

Born Andre Young in Compton, Calif., artist, producer and entrepreneur Dr. Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Crew. In 1986, he co-founded N.W.A. and won critical and commercial acclaim with the group’s 1988 landmark rap album Straight Outta Compton. In 1992, Dre released his solo debut, the G-Funk masterpiece The Chronic, which Rolling Stone hailed as one of the greatest albums ever made. In 1993, Dre produced the solo debut of rapper Snoop Dog, which spawned the worldwide hip-hop hit, “Gin and Juice.”

With the launch of his own record company, Aftermath Entertainment in 1996, Dre went on to discover and nurture such next-generation hip hop superstars as 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem. With Interscope chief Iovine, Dre created Beats By Dr. Dre — intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio in an age of ear buds and tiny laptop speakers. Launched in 2008 with the revolutionary Studio headphones, which have become culturally iconic — the signature red B now an instantly recognizable and respected symbol. In 2009, Beats by Dr. Dre partnered with HP to produce the HP Envy notebook, integrated with BeatsAudio, followed by the Beatbox iPod dock. In 2011, the company Electronics opened a flagship retail store in New York City’s SoHo district where each of its new products is introduced.

About the USC schools participating in the academy

Established in 1883, the USC Roski School of Fine Arts is the oldest art school in Southern California. A supportive environment for experimentation in visual art of all media, the school encourages interdisciplinary, progressive approaches to studio art, design, curatorial practice and critical studies. The USC Roski School prepares artists, designers, curators and writers to contribute in new and meaningful ways both to their fields and to society at large.

The USC Marshall School of Business ranks in both U.S. News & World Report and Business Week among the top 30 schools of business nationwide. For more than 80 years, USC Marshall has provided world-class research and scholarship opportunities, prepared students for the future of business, focused on core skills, and has strengthened its position as a global center of business education and research at the graduate, undergraduate and executive levels.

Founded in 1884 and one of the oldest cultural institutions in Los Angeles, the USC Thornton School of Music is regarded as one of the premier music schools in the world, offering innovative programs such as popular music performance, recording science, and scoring for motion pictures and television, along with traditional programs in classical music, opera, jazz studies, composition and research. Blending a traditional conservatory-style education with the benefits of studying at a leading research university, USC Thornton offers students an unparalleled music education in a real-world context.

Consistently ranked among the top 10 engineering schools in the U.S., the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is achieving new heights through research and educational leadership in technology and innovation: information sciences, biomedical engineering and homeland security. The school is home to more than 45 research centers and institutes, including three National Science Foundation-funded engineering research centers, the first university-based center of excellence funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the USC Information Sciences Institute. Faculty at the school also conduct major research activities in energy, megacities, robotics and game development.

[PHOTO OF DR. DRE AND JIMMY IOVINE BY SAM JONES. TO DOWNLOAD A HIGH-RES VERSION, CLICK HERE.]