Dr. Dre helps launch college degree program in ‘disruption’

Eric Pfeiffer

Millions of hip-hop fans have been getting a degree in Dr. Dre since the late 1980s. But for a few dedicated students, that will soon be a real thing.

Hip-hop icon Dr. Dre has helped launch a college degree program in “disruption” at the University of Southern California.

The influential rapper, record producer and headphone magnate has made a $70 million donation to USC with longtime music partner Jimmy Iovine.

“The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media. USC provides an extraordinarily rich academic, research and artistic environment,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said in a statement. “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.”

Iovine and Young first announced the donation in May, but now some specific details surrounding the program have emerged. For example, some of the required coursework will include, "Advanced Methods in 2-D and 3-D Visualization," "Creativity," "Design Theory" and "The Entrepreneurial Mindset."

The USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation will accept 25 students in the fall of 2014 who will be asked to specialize in a broad array of multimedia and creative pursuits. Or, as Valley Wag puts it, “nearly every Silicon Valley buzzword simultaneously.”

More specifically, the program will focus on four core areas of study: “Arts and Entrepreneurship,” “Technology, Design and Marketability,” “Concept and Business Platforms” and “Creating a Prototype.”

“The academy’s core education will create a common, multilingual literacy and fluency across essential disciplines,” said Erica Muhl, inaugural director of the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy
for Arts and dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. “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.”

Of course, Young and Iovine aren’t just throwing their money blindly into higher education with purely altruistic intentions. They’re hoping one of their future students will come up with the next great invention to help bolster the pair’s ever-expanding business empire.

“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.