Andre Young, known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is making an investment in higher education.
The Grammy Award-winning hip hop star, alongside "American Idol" personality and music producer Jimmy Iovine, is donating $70 million to the University of Southern California. The funds will be used to establish an interdisciplinary program next year, which would teach a select class of undergraduate students a broad range of technical and creative skills, according to a statement obtained by OTRC.com.
Titled the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, the L.A.-based academy will foster the abilities of students whose academic talents encompass the fields of audio and visual design, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, marketing and the arts.
"The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media," C. L. Max Nikias, the USC President, stated. "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."
The program, which will commence in fall 2014 with a class of 25 students, will also incorporate mentors from the spheres of business and the arts and provide several scholarships for students from low-income families. The goal, according to Erica Muhl, dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, is to train a generation of young people with "'big picture' knowledge and skill."
"The academy's core education will create a common, multi-lingual literacy and fluency across essential disciplines," Muhl stated. "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."
The curriculum also includes "the Garage," an "experimental setting" for seniors that involves the development of a project with real-world business potential. The title may be referential of a real-world garage in Menlo Park, California, which tech giant Google credits as its birthplace, or the garage where Steve Jobs first built an Apple computer.
"If the next start-up that becomes Facebook happens to be one of our kids, that's what we are looking for," Iovine told the New York Times.
"I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I've done in my career," Dre added.
Iovine, a 60-year-old music producer who regularly mentors young performers on Fox's "American Idol," co-founded Interscope Records in 1990. The multi-media company is home to over 140 artists, including rapper Andre Young, 48, who gained prominence through music released under his stage name Dr. Dre. The two entrepreneurs co-founded Beats Electronics in 2006, a company that produces popular high-end headphones and electronics, with plans to launch a digital music service in 2013.