Jimmy Iovine and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, along with dozens of students, faculty and staff celebrated the grand opening of the new Iovine and Young Academy building on Wednesday. The hall — located across from the Viterbi School of Engineering — is the first physical space available for Academy students.
“This is a very special milestone for the Academy,” Academy Dean Erica Muhl said. “This new facility will not just house [Academy students], it will partner with them as they make a better future for themselves and for us all.”
Previously, the Academy students were housed the “Garage,” a small studio located on the fourth floor of Sample Hall. The new building will have amenities including 3-D printers, electronic labs, a podcast studio, an incubator space for startup companies and walls that students can write on.
“It is built to embody entrepreneurship and innovation,” President Carol Folt said. “It has with it a feeling, this unrelenting determination to achieve and drive forward. Often, it’s against odds.”
The Spirit of Troy kicked off the event, followed by speeches from Muhl, Folt, and Iovine.
“Today is one of those days when I go ‘my goodness, how lucky I am to be here,’” Folt said. “And I think this is the hottest ticket in town. We’re going to do the official ribbon cutting on what I truly believe is the most creative, innovative, futuristic program and building in all of higher [education] in America.”
The new building, which Muhl said was three years in the making, received $70 million in donations by Young and Iovine, according to USC News.
“For four years, the Academy has been emerging to the forefront to expand the real reach of higher education in a truly innovative and exciting and creative way,” Folt said.
In her speech, Folt thanked all the people who made the building a possibility. She stressed the importance of giving students a physical space to create and thrive.
“We’re at our best when we allow people’s imagination to flourish and do what we can to let people take that innate creativity and talent and put it to use to do solutions that are innovative, sustainable and just,” Folt said. “In my time here I know all those qualities are what drive the students, our deans and our faculty.”
In his speech, Iovine highlighted the importance of the Academy’s focus on interdisciplinary studies and pursuing goals with a passion.
“It’s very hard to find people that come out of school with both disciplines — arts and technology — who understand the language,” Iovine said.
Confetti rained down on attendees as Muhl, Folt, Iovine and Young cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening and conclude the ceremony.
The Academy also unveiled a new health innovation minor, a collaborative effort between the school and Keck School of Medicine, which will open in Spring 2020. Looking to incorporate a mixture of business and medicine courses, the minor will create a space for students who want to explore the future role of technology in the medical field.