By Ted Shockley
A local group campaigning for the location of a four-year college on the Eastern Shore has asked Accomack County to pledge 200 acres in its Melfa industrial park on which to build it.
The group, called “The University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation,” announced last year that it would sow the seeds locally and statewide of an idea that the Eastern Shore is a viable location for a full-fledged university — or at least a branch of one.
Group President Terry Malarkey addressed the Accomack County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, May 15, to seek a commitment of land for the project, citing room in Accomack’s industrial park that is “not assigned to anything.”
The board of supervisors did not immediately respond to the request for a proclamation.
He said the group has approached Gov. Ralph Northam, an Eastern Shore native, about the proposal, adding, “We’ve not received a reply.”
Malarkey said Northam was “surprised at the concept but open to it.”
Malarkey said the group is modeling its focus after the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, in the rural far southwestern part of the state. He also said, as universities seek satellite campuses, the Eastern Shore would be a strong candidate.
He added a bit of statewide pride while throwing some wry humor at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.
“If Virginia Tech doesn’t bite, we could lower our standards,” Malarkey said, “to Stanford.”