Public Input Sought for Shore University Business Plan

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Rural Horseshoe
Image courtesy of the University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation – The graphic above depicts the educational disparities between urban and rural Virginia. The blue area, including the Eastern Shore, shows the general location of Virginia’s “rural horseshoe,” and the green area highlights the “golden crescent” where many of Virginia’s most populous (and some of its wealthiest) cities are located.

By Carol Vaughn —

A survey about founding a four-year university on the Eastern Shore is underway and residents’ input is being sought.
A team of executive MBA graduate students at Virginia Commonwealth University partnered with the University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation to create a business plan.
The foundation’s goal is to bring a four-year higher education institution to the Shore.
The team created two surveys anyone is invited to answer online. The surveys take five to 10 minutes to complete, according to Nicole McMullin, VCU executive MBA student.
The first survey is about economic growth and what respondents think will impact the Shore economy. This survey is designed for the business community, property owners, and regional leaders from all industries and organizations, McMullin said in an email.
The survey can be taken at https://bit.ly/2MuTQdE
The second survey asks what respondents think about attending a four-year university on the Eastern Shore, where they could earn a degree or do professional development.
The second survey is designed for high school students, young adults, parents, people who work in the educational field, people interested in professional development, or anyone interested in education.
The survey can be taken at https://bit.ly/3r95RVj
Survey results will help the team create a business plan.
“We hope to hear from as many people who live and work on Virginia’s Eastern Shore as possible but living and working there is not mandatory to complete either of these surveys,” McMullin wrote.
The foundation wants results in by the end of March, according to Terry Malarkey, president and founder of the University of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Foundation.
The foundation website is https://shoreu.org/
The VCU team of six executive MBA students is creating a business plan for the foundation as their capstone project. The project kicked off Jan. 9.
Malarkey in May 2019 asked Accomack County Board of Supervisors to consider committing land at the county’s industrial park in Melfa to the university project. The board took no action on the request at the time.
Malarkey told the board the foundation wants to recruit “a high-quality” Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health university to set up a branch on the Eastern Shore.
“Our model is UVa at Wise. Our dream is Virginia Tech on the Shore,” Malarkey said then, noting setting up remote campuses is a trend among universities.
A four-year university could grow to around 2,000 students and result in 1,000 jobs and up to $100 million per year in cash flow, according to the foundation.

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