NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk State University freshman Gabriel Ingram wants to be a high school gym teacher. Like any student, he’s adjusting to life on campus.
But Friday, he and others got their hands on something that will make the journey a bit easier.
"I know a lot don’t have access to these materials,” he said.
Ingram is one of the first students on campus to receive a brand new iPad Pro, as part of the school's Spartan Innovation Academy Program.
The initiative aims to help students and staff with technology and lessons for app development and is the first established campus-wide distribution of Apple products for an HBCU, according to the university.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to have the innovation and the tools that allow them to move forward and do so many creative things and to be competitive," said Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston.
Dr. Adams-Gaston said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a digital divide among students, and this closes that gap for students on campus.
"I think it will help a lot," said Norfolk State freshman Nia Grant.
The first 30 students to get the devices are part of the school's Virginia College Affordability Network program, which provides free college tuition and supports Pell-eligible students from Hampton Roads.
Ingram said he doesn’t take the gift lightly.
"It makes me know that I need to take advantage of the opportunity, and use it to my advantage," he said.
NSU will issue the remaining devices and accessories to students and faculty throughout the month.
Students can keep them while enrolled, and when they graduate, they can buy the products for a $1 fee.