Hiram College announced the largest single gift ever made to the college. The $2.1M gift from Dean Scarborough, Class of ’77, and his wife Janice Bini will launch a transformational mobile technology initiative called Tech and Trek. The program will merge classroom learning with 21st Century mobile technology by deploying iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and keyboard bundle to each of its full-time traditional college students, faculty and staff. Hiram is the first 4-year college or university in Ohio to fully adopt a college-wide Apple mobile education strategy of this kind to ensure graduates are prepared academically, socially and technologically for the world they will live and work in.
“The 21st century is a mobile one,” noted Hiram President, Lori Varlotta. “We intend to capitalize on that. Hiram faculty and staff are especially well-suited to teach students how to critically and creatively use the iPad Pro as a learning tool. At Hiram, we expect the iPad innovation toolkit to be among the many tools that help students hone the academic, interpersonal, and reflective skills they have long developed here.”
When asked why they named the initiative “Tech and Trek,” Varlotta smiled. “That’s an easy one. The Hiram experience is a journey of exploration and inquiry. These tech devices will be a vital part of the many exciting treks that our students take. Whether they are roaming through the historic 19th-century Hiram Village, hiking the trails at our 600-acre Field Station, trudging through streams and marshes collecting research samples, embarking on study-abroad trips that have visited 36 countries, or gaining work experience at one of our many internship sites, these devices will help students capture and connect the ideas, feelings, images, and questions that will change their lives.”
Hiram leaders and key donors envision much more than just putting new mobile devices in the hands of students and faculty. Instead, they expect to catalyze a true transformation of the learning community. Hiram is a college of firsts, from the first Weekend College in the state of Ohio to the first undergraduate biomedical humanities degree in the nation, trailblazing is not only a tradition at Hiram – it’s an expectation.
Scarborough, the recently retired CEO of Fortune 500 Avery Dennison, reflects on his own experience at Hiram. “The critical thinking, problem-solving, and oral and written communication skills I developed at Hiram prepared me exceptionally well for the journeys I would take in both my personal and professional lives.” For this reason, Scarborough is grateful that he and his wife are in a position to give. “Janice and I are passionate about helping Hiram build upon its 167-year history while positioning it for the 21st century.”
Heather Balas, the Director of the College Career Center, shares in the excitement. “I am certain this effort to put iPad Pros in the hands of our students, faculty and staff will increase student engagement and better prepare graduates for the digital collaboration, analyses and immediacy that characterize today’s workplace.”
Along with deploying the technology from Apple, Hiram will upgrade its wireless infrastructure and equipment in classrooms and greenspaces across campus. The second phase of the plan expands the initiative to Hiram’s non-traditional student populations. This includes graduate students, students enrolled in Weekend College and those pursuing completion degrees at Hiram’s Community College Partner sites: Lorain Community College, Cuyahoga Community College – Eastern Campus and Lakeland Community College.