LOS ANGELES -- Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Jimmy Iovine want a new high-tech building bearing their names at the University of Southern California to become a place where young creatives can understand marrying the concepts of art, technology and business.
The music business partners along with USC’s head school officials unveiled the Iovine and Young Hall on the campus during a dedication ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. The school’s marching band commemorated the moment by playing its fight song “Fight On” while confetti exploded into the air after the ribbon cutting.
“What this school does is as much as what it doesn’t do,” said Iovine, a music industry entrepreneur who is known as the co-founder of Interscope Records.
“What it doesn’t do is cut off that potential in your freshman year and silos you into something,” Iovine continued. “To silo an undergraduate is a mistake, as far as I’m concerned.”
Dr. Dre is best known as a producer, rapper and co-owner of Death Row Records. He later started his own record label, Aftermath Entertainment.
The building was named after Iovine and Dr. Dre who donated a combined $70 million in 2013 to create the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Innovation. The academy provides a special four-year program for undergraduates whose interests are spanned in several fields from marketing, computer science, visual design and other arts.
Iovine believes all of those fields can coincide with each other in their building, which USC President Carol L. Folt called “futuristic.” The hall will provide a learning space featuring 3-D printers, electronic labs, a podcast studio, an alumni incubator space, and a motion capture and audio studio.
“When a design artist meets a computer science major, they don’t understand each other,” Iovine said. “The language gets muddled. They don’t understand the why of what each other does. This school keeps that pumping. When you graduate from this academy, you retain and enhance what you had as a kid. That’s the joy of understanding both disciplines.”
Erica Muhl, the dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy, said the university is evolving with the times.
“The world is becoming more complex,” Muhl said. “That means problems are becoming more complex. This school aims to find and nurture those thinkers that can address these problems from multiple perspectives with a broad array of tools and methodologies. This allows them to cross those disciplines as native, rather than having to think across them.”
Sydney Loew, 19, is a student at the academy with the hopes of someday running her own graphic design firm. She called Iovine and Dr. Dre “incredible inspirations.”
“We absolutely love having them behind the program,” she said. “And all the time people are just caught off guard by, 'Wow your school is founded by Jimmy and Dre.' And still, I have to pinch myself sometimes. It's really incredible to just have them as people who support us and see that we can do good in the world."
Along with their initiative at USC, Dr. Dre and Iovine want to expand their efforts. They are planning to build a new high school in the Los Angeles area near the college.
“If we can catch these kids earlier, that would be even better,” Iovine said. “Most high school kids don’t think high school is relevant in their lives. Dre and I understand that, speaking to young kids. If you give a student the advantage to have multiple disciplines, I can tell you as an employer, I’d desperately need that kid. We want other people to copy us.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31