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Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine's $70 million is USC's latest celebrity coup

May 15, 2013|By Reed Johnson

Tommy Trojan is tapping the entertainment industry -- again.

In years past, the University of Southern California has received large gifts from Hollywood moguls to support its academic programs. In 2006, George Lucas donated $175 million toward the university's film school. In 2012 Robert Zemeckis gave $5 million to help fund a digital arts facility.

Now hip-hopper/entrepreneur Dr. Dre (aka Andre Young) and his longtime associate, music mega-producer Jimmy Iovine, are awarding the school $70 million to start up what's being described as an Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

An unspecified portion of the $70-million donation will go toward construction of facilities that will house the academy. Students, who can earn an undergraduate degree from the academy, will use existing facilities while new ones are being built.

The four-year program will feature four core curriculum areas: arts and entrepreneurship; technology, design and marketability; concept and business platform; and creating a prototype. It aims to foster entrepreneurship that brings students' entertainment, technology and business skills into play. Instruction will involve engineering, computer science, fine arts, graphic design, business and leadership training.

That training will come from faculty at USC's Thornton School of Music, Roski School of Fine Arts, Marshall School of Business and Viterbi School of Engineering, as well as "industry icons and innovators as visiting faculty and guest speakers," according to USC's statement.

In a news release, USC administrators also envision Silicon Valley venture capitalists and "other real-world experts" lining up "to give students advice and direction" with the new venture.

Forbes magazine puts Dre's net worth at $350 million, ranking him third — behind Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jay-Z — on its 2013 list of the wealthiest hip-hop stars.

Celebrity NetWorth puts Iovine, a regular guest judge in recent seasons of "American Idol," at $700 million. Forbes in 2011 estimated Iovine's net worth at $400 million.

ALSO:

Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine to give $70 million to USC for new academy

Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine give $70 million to create new USC academy

Follow me on Twitter: @RJohnsonLAT

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