Neither Dr. Dre nor Jimmy Iovine attended college. But the Beats Electronics business partners have given the University of Southern California $70 million to create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
“I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career,” Dr. Dre said during an interview with The New York Times.
The degree blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts. Dre and Iovine (whose daughter attended the university) hope the program develops talented students who may eventually work for them, even if not in the music business. “If the next start-up that becomes Facebook happens to be one of our kids, that’s what we are looking for,” said Iovine, who will deliver the class of 2013 commencement speech at USC.
The particulars of the program and still being defined, though “The Garage” is a senior project that requires students to set up a business prototype. The first class of 25 students will enter in fall 2014, selected for their academic achievement, the university said, as well as their ability for “original thought,” as per the Times.
Dr. Dre and Iovine have worked together since 1992, when Dr. Dre released his landmark The Chronic album on Iovine’s Interscope Records. Since then, the pair have collaborated on launching the careers of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent and Game, among others.
When asked if he thought he would ever help start a university program, Dr. Dre told the Times, “Never in a million years.”