After three years of construction, Iovine and Young Hall opened its doors on the University of Southern California campus today following a dedication ceremony attended by its namesakes Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre. Founded in 2013, the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation is a multi-disciplinary undergraduate enclave for students whose interests span such fields as art and design; technology and engineering; business and venture management; and communication.
The 40,000-square foot collaborative space is a place to “dream and design,” encourage teamwork and incubate ideas from students past and present, USC president Carol L. Folt (pictured below, at right) said at the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting. It features maker spaces in a transparent setting, and outdoor deck overlooking Exposition Park and Natural History Museum and walls that double as white boards.
Speaking to the assembled — students, faculty, supporters and family, among other affiliates of the program — Iovine explained how the Academy was meant to bridge technology and the arts and was partly inspired by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Referencing the merger of AT&T and Warner, Iovine noted that “Millennials, Gen Z, these kids are multi-disciplined. They can work in either lane. They were brought up like that.”
“We’re not educators, we’re cheerleaders,” Iovine added, revealing that the two will also commit to building a high school in the surrounding neighborhood. “If we can catch these kids earlier, that’s even better. And then, who knows, we’ll go to birth.”
Dre took the stage for the ribbon cutting but did not make remarks of his own. “He’s a genius, I can talk,” Iovine later cracked.
Added Erica Muhl (pictured at left), dean and founding executive director of USC Iovine and Young Academy: the new complex “will not just house them, but partner with them as they build a better future for themselves and for us all.” Worth noting: the school has already seen several of its alumni receive recognition in disciplines like film and photography.
In a press conference following the ceremony, Iovine offered additional details about the program and what it’s looking for in its student body. “We’re looking for someone who understands popular culture, the arts, design and engineering and science,” he said. “We’re trying to help kids not lose what they have coming in naturally.”
Of plans for a high school, Iovine said: “We are talking to people and have a potential partner. We talk and move at the same time.”