Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, two giants in the music industry, announced Wednesday that they are donating $70 million to the University of Southern California for a new academy. The new part of USC will focus on music, technology, business and entrepreneurship in a four-year program.
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's donation will go towards building a new facility for the school- students coming for the fall of 2014 will use the school's current buildings- as well as a different kind of curriculum that focuses on students creating instead of just learning. Design, marketing, business platforms, technology, fine arts, engineering and computer science will be some of things taught at the academy.
"We've been given a lot, and we thought this was a great way to give back by doing this academy," Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, told the Associated Press. "I guess I'm an official Trojan now."
Dr. Dre and Iovine are hoping that a different kind of education system- one-on-one faculty time with students, the chance to talk with giants of the entertainment industry, and a final year that requires a marketable prototype- will stimulate the next breakthrough in technology, entertainment, or business.
"Somebody is going to design the next iPod, the next Facebook, the next breakthrough in how we live," Erica Muhl, dean and executive director of the school, explained. "We want that to happen at the Iovine-Young Academy."
Though Iovine and Young never pursued higher education, both men feel that an alternative route to the same goal can be just as beneficial as a traditional education- "a new kid with different skills" could even be more prepared to enter the high-tech, modern workforce.
"This is about treating what a kid is today," Iovine said. "This place is a dream factory. This place is where you don't have to get stuck in calculus to succeed at this school. It has other ways through, other paths."
This isn't first time the hip-hop mogul and music giant have collaborated for a huge effort. Young and Iovine also created Beats Electronics LLC, the parent company for Dr. Dre's popular high-end Beats headphones. In 2011, the company's annual sales were $500 million, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Dre was originally a member of the hardcore rap group N.W.A. of Compton, Calif. and helped birth rap superstars like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar. His net worth is estimated to be $350 million.
Jimmy Iovine is the co-founder of Interscope Records, which owns Dre's label, Aftermath Entertainment. Iovine is also the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M and previously worked various music artists like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and others.
"Just believe and bet on yourself at all times. And stay determined," Young said. "You don't have to be smarter than the next guy; you've got to work harder than the next guy," Iovine added.
The first class of 25 students will begin classes at the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation in the fall of 2014.