Hip hop artist Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine have given $70 million to the University of Southern California for a new academy that will be of particular interest to business students. The program will offer a four-year degree designed for budding entrepreneurs in the arts and entertainment.
The new academy, which will enroll its first class of 25 students in the fall of 2014, will be taught by faculty from USC’s Marshall School of Business as well as the schools of fine art, engineering, and music, the university announced. The core curriculum will focus on arts and entrepreneurship; technology, design, and marketability; concept and business platforms; and creating a prototype. In the final year of the program, students will take up residence in an experiential setting called the “garage,” where self-directed teams will plan and work on a final project that can be developed into a prototype before they graduate.
The goal, according to academy director Erica Muhl, is to develop “big-picture knowledge and skills [that] will be applicable to virtually any industry.”
The gift from Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, and Iovine is part of a $6 billion fund-raising effort recently launched by USC to advance its academic priorities. Young and Iovine are co-founders of Beats Electronics, makers of the popular headphones. Young found fame with the group N.W.A. and its landmark rap album, Straight Outta Compton. He went on to help launch the careers of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, and many others. Iovine is the chief executive of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. He has worked with artists as varied as U2, Meatloaf, Limp Bizkit, and Nine Inch Nails.