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NSU Celebrated as an Apple Distinguished School


Today, Norfolk State University was celebrated as a 2023-2026 Apple Distinguished School. The announcement, made during the University’s Board of Visitors meeting, recognizes the University’s innovative approach to using Apple tools to teach and motivate students and provides them with opportunities to create their own innovative approaches to learning and engagement.

During the Fall 2021 semester, NSU, the largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the Commonwealth, distributed more than 6,000 Apple products to students, faculty and select staff, becoming the first HBCU in the nation to undertake such an initiative.

The University distributed iPad Pros with ultra-fast 5G speeds so that students could access their studies on and off campus, as well as the Apple Pencil, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, and AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation. These devices enabled and continue to enable students to access all aspects of the NSU academic enterprise and digitally engage with faculty, peers, administrators, and NSU learning platforms from any location. Students can keep the devices throughout their enrollment at the University. And upon graduation, students can purchase the device for a nominal fee of $1. The devices are provided to faculty and staff at no cost.

One of the actions that seemed to impress Apple is that the University built its program in two years, rather than the standard four to five years that it takes many colleges and universities because NSU President Javaune Adams-Gaston insisted on rolling the program out in one piece instead of small increments. 

“A lot of this was born out of the COVID pandemic where we were watching our students struggle with trying to do their courses on their phones and not have the tools needed,” said Dr. Adams-Gaston. “But tools are just a part of it. We’ve always said that this is about the learning, the faculty’s engagement in the learning and the way that they use the tools with the students in order for them to have the kind of learning that we think is learning of the future.”

“Norfolk State University,” said President Adams-Gaston, “is a place where we dream big and bring big dreams to fruition.”