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Music's Dr. Dre, Iovine give $70 million to USC academic program

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper Dr. Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine have donated $70 million to establish an entrepreneurial undergraduate program at the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles school said on Wednesday.

The gift will create a new degree pulling faculty members from the university's business, fine arts, music and engineering departments.

The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation will begin in the fall of 2014 and enroll a first class of 25 students, USC said.

Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and Iovine created the popular headphones Beats by Dr. Dre in 2006, successfully transitioning Dr. Dre's popularity as a rapper and hip-hop producer into the consumer electronics market.

"The vision and generosity of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media," USC President C. L. Max Nikias said in a statement.

"Our goal is to ensure that the academy is the most collaborative educational program in the world," Nikias added.

USC said the program will bring in "icons and innovators" as visiting faculty members and speakers.

The program, which will be headed by fine arts dean Eric Muhl, will also require students to complete a year long group project.

Dr. Dre, 48, rose to fame in the 1980s as an hip-hop producer and member of gangster rap group N.W.A. He is also credited with helping develop the careers of rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem in the 1990s.

Iovine, 60, is the chairman of Universal Music Group's unit Interscope Geffen A&M Records. His Interscope label embraced hip-hop music and edgier acts, including Dr. Dre and rocker Marilyn Manson, in the 1990s.

USC has also received large gifts from "Star Wars" director and alumnus George Lucas, who donated $75 million to the university's film school in 2009.

Universal Music Group is a subsidiary of Vivendi.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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