Music Moguls Give $70-Million to U. of Southern California

The music- and audio-industry executives Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre—whose given name was Andre Young—are giving $70-million to establish an entrepreneurship program at the University of Southern California, the university announced on Wednesday.

The USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation will recruit students interested in such areas as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts, and will seek to create a new generation of innovators, according to the university. The $70-million gift, comprising $35-million donations from each man, is part of the $6-billion Campaign for the University of Southern California.

Mr. Iovine, who will deliver the university’s commencement address on Friday, worked as a producer and engineer for such artists as John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen, then founded Interscope Records, in 1990. Today he is chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records. Dr. Dre was a member of seminal hip-hop group NWA before morphing into an in-demand producer and head of Interscope-distributed Aftermath Records.

Together the two men founded Beats Electronics LLC, the parent of the company that produces Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, a popular high-end line of audio gear.

Forbes estimated Mr. Iovine’s net worth at $400-million in 2011, and Celebrity NetWorth has put the figure at $700-million. Forbes recently ranked Dr. Dre as the third-wealthiest hip-hop star, with $350-million, behind Sean (Diddy) Combs and Jay-Z.

“I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting, and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career,” Dr. Dre told The New York Times for an article about the new program.

While details about the entrepreneurship program are still being worked out, it will admit its first class of 25 students in the fall of 2014. They will be selected for their academic achievement and their ability for “original thought,” the university said.

Return to Top