These past four years have been an exciting period of tremendous growth, discovery and success for the USC Iovine and Young Academy. Since the enrollment of our first cohort of 29, the program now numbers more than 100 remarkable advanced undergraduate and graduate students who have excelled in business, the creative and tech industries, as members of our distinguished armed forces, and in many other fields of endeavor. We are thrilled that you have all joined us in this landmark journey.
On July 1, 2018, the Academy became USC’s newest school – only the 20th to have been named in the university’s nearly 140 year history. I am honored to have been asked to serve as the Academy’s inaugural dean, and I look forward with great eagerness to what the coming years will bring for its students, faculty, staff, and broader community. I am particularly excited to share this honor with you, as the Academy looks forward to celebrating our first masters graduates next spring, and to the next exciting stages in the evolution of our online Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology.
The Academy reached its first commencement milestone this past spring, with the graduation of our inaugural undergraduate cohort. This class of 29 entrepreneurs has set the bar for future undergraduate cohorts with job offers from leading companies such as Apple, Facebook, Kobe Inc., Oculus, Kahn Academy, Price Waterhouse, Viasat, and Southwest Airlines, and no fewer than seven startups in various stages of development. These include Mira Labs, which has so far garnered $6.5 million in early stage funding, and just this spring won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for Technology for its Mira Prism augmented reality headset.
Students, you have embarked on a remarkable journey. You have chosen a program that is re-thinking higher education for the 21st century. We know you had many options in the U.S. and abroad, and we are both proud and grateful that you chose to continue your education with us. And we feel you could not have made a better choice. In the past four years the Academy has been featured for its educational model in The Wall Street Journal, Billboard, WIRED, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and at South by Southwest.edu (SXSW.edu), Adobe MAX, the Arts, Media and Entertainment Leadership Institute (AME), and the 2017 Microsoft Summit, “Learning in the Digital Age.” Student accomplishments have been highlighted in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, Business Insider, Tech Crunch, Technology Review, and many more. As we move forward we will continue to demand nothing less than this type of continued excellence from ourselves, and from you as the drivers of advanced thought in innovation. Through this, and the foundational advocacy of different ways of thinking and making that is central to the Academy’s education, you will be positioned to drive positive change in our communities, the nation, and around the globe.
Warmest regards to you all, and Fight On!
Dean, USC Iovine and Young Academy
Professor Of Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation
Professor of Composition, USC Thornton School of Music