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Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Break Ground on Permanent Home for Their USC Academy

Throughout their remarkable careers, Jimmy Iovine and Andre "Dr. Dre" Young have worn many hats and on Oct. 12 the pair showed off how they look in hard hats.

Throughout their remarkable careers, Jimmy Iovine and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young have worn many hats — as hit-making record producers, entrepreneurs with Beats By Dre, digital music pioneers with Apple — and on Oct. 11 the pair showed off how they look in hard hats.

On the campus of the University of Southern California, Iovine and Dre took part in the groundbreaking for a new permanent home for the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy, the program they endowed with a $70 million gift to USC in 2013. They were joined in turning up soil with chrome shovels by Erica Muhl, the founding executive director of the academy and Max C.L. Nikias, president of USC.

In its first four years, the Iovine and Young Academy has admitted a selective group of 114 undergraduate students, who will receive a bachelor of science degree in arts, technology and the business of innovation—a mix of disciplines that Iovine has called essential to industries of the future. In March, the academy announced a masters program, Design@USC, mixing online and on campus programs.


Since it opened in the fall of 2014, the Iovine and Young Academy has held classes in space dubbed “the Garage” atop USC’s Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Hall will open on campus in 2019 at the intersection of Watt Way and West Exposition Boulevard and will house approximately 10,000 square feet of makerspaces. It will feature: fabrication labs for metal, wood, plastics and electronics; 3D printing and scanning; media labs for photo, video and audio capture and editing; and workshops and studios to encourage innovation and the development of startups.

“I hope at this school we can help our students to dream big, execute and build the courage to stay in the saddle,” Iovine said.

Nikias said Iovine and Young Hall “will stoke the fire of students’ imaginations, and it will propel the next generations of inventions and products that will transform our lives.”


While the Iovine and Young Academy will not graduate its first class of students until May 2018, the program already has yielded its first startup, Mira, backed by venture capital. A $99 augmented reality headset dubbed Prism, has been introduced by the company, run by academy seniors Ben Taft, Matt Stern and Montana Reed.  Salesforce chairman/CEO Marc Benioff and musician are among the investors in Mira.

Although Mira’s young entrepreneurs have taken office space in downtown Los Angeles, they will have an ongoing home on the USC campus after graduation. Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Hall will offer a lab for alumni, assuring the academy’s new building will be an ongoing tech incubator.