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UMES Community Mourns Passing of Beloved Leader

  • Tuesday, July 17, 2007


    Viewing, service times

    Open to the Public:

    Viewing: Wednesday, July 18; Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Broad Street, Princess Anne. 6-8 p.m.

    Viewing: Thursday, July 19; Ella Fitzgerald Center, UMES; 9 a.m.

    Funeral: Immediately following viewing at 11 a.m.

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore family mourns today the passing of one of its most beloved leaders, President Emeritus William Percy Hytche Sr., who retired from the university at the age of 69 after serving some 21 years as president.

    Dr. Hytche, the university's tenth president, came to the institution, then known as Maryland State College, in 1960 after having taught in the public schools of Ponca City, OK, and Oklahoma State University. At UMES, he rose through the ranks, serving as an instructor of mathematics, chairman of the Department of Mathematics, dean of student affairs and chairman of the Division of Liberal Studies. He was appointed acting chancellor of the university July 1975 and was given a permanent appointment by June 1976. In 1988, after the Higher Education Bill passed, his title was changed to president while the title of the system's leader was changed to chancellor.

    Under the distinguished leadership of this mathematician turned president, the university grew from 1,046 full-time equivalent students in 1975 to 3,209 students in 1997.  In addition, the physical plant grew by 305 acres, while the following major building projects and land acquisitions were initiated and/or completed: Marksman Farm purchased adding 245 acres to the campus, 1975; campus site improvements (landscaping, brick walks, benches, stadium upgrade, farm road and baseball field construction, etc.) totaling $6.6 million, 1991-1995; campus-wide utilities upgrade (electric service and lighting, water and steam lines), new water tower and new telecommunications system totaling $5.6 million, 1991-1995; Bozman Farm purchased, adding 60 acres to the campus, 1993; Plaza and Court Residence Halls constructed, adding 150 beds each and 26,000 square feet, 1996; negotiation of the construction of the 115,000 square-foot Physical and Health Education Center, subsequently named for Hytche, 1997; negotiated the construction of the 147,000 square-foot Student Services Center (constructed in 2000).

    Some 32 academic programs, at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels, were added to the curriculum under Hytche's leadership.  The undergraduate programs and options include: computer science, construction management technology, elementary/special education, environmental science, hotel and restaurant management and poultry technology and management, 1979; engineering technology and home economics/human ecology (dietetics), 1980; home economics/human ecology (fashion merchandising), home economics/human ecology (nutrition) and physical therapy, 1982; accounting, 1984; industrial arts/technology education, 1985; airway science/aviation sciences, criminal justice and rehabilitation services, 1989; technology education, 1990; agri-business, 1992; and general agriculture (animal and poultry science), general agriculture (plant and soil sciences), home economics/human ecology (interior design), marine science and secondary/middle school education, 1996.  Graduate degree programs added during the Hytche era include: master's program in guidance and counseling and master's and doctoral programs in marine-estuarine environmental sciences, 1978; master's program in agriculture and extension education, 1979; master's program in special education, 1982; master's and doctoral program in toxicology, 1984; master's program in applied computer science, 1985; master's program in physical therapy, 1991; master's program in food and agricultural science, 1995; and master's program in teaching, 1996.

    During his presidency, Hytche was appointed by President Bush to serve on the President's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  He was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as co-chair of the USDA/1890 Task Force and provided leadership for the 1890 universities as chair of the Council of 1890 Presidents/Chancellors from 1985-1990.

    Hytche has held memberships in numerous organizations, among which are the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, past secretary of the board); National Aquarium Advisory Board, member; Agribusiness Promotion Council, member; Department of Energy's Historically Black Colleges and Universities' Task Group, member; Federal Aviation Administration/Airway Science Task Force, member;  Peninsula Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees, member; Del-Mar-Va Advisory Council, member; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, member; Phi Sigma Society, member; Phi Delta Kappa, member; and Phi Kappa Phi, member.

    Additionally, Hytche received many honors and awards during his lifetime, including listings in the Personalities of the South, Outstanding Educators of America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in American Education, and Who's Who Among Black Americans.  He was named Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow (Oklahoma State University, 1978), and was selected as the recipient of The Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement Award for 1992 (sponsored by Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.).  In addition, he was honored by induction into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame January 1993, and in 1994 he received the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award from Tuskegee University. Fisk University (Tennessee), Washington College (Maryland), University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Tuskegee University all bestowed upon him honorary doctorate degrees.

    Hytche's published articles include “Information Technology and the 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities,” Journal of Agricultural & Food Information,1993; a chapter in a book, “A Century of Service, Land-Grant Colleges and Universities,1890-1990,” 1992; an article entitled, “Historically Black Institutions Forge Linkages with African Nations,” Educational Record, Spring 1990; “1989 Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Lecture, A National Resource-A National Challenge,” The 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, 1989; “Step by Step to the Top: The Saga of a President of a Historically Black University,” 1999; and “Polishing the Diamond: A History of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore,” 2002 .

    A world traveler, Hytche traveled extensively throughout Africa and Asia. In 1998, he led a delegation of ten college presidents who observed the voting process in a national election in Nigeria. The trip was sponsored by an organization known as Americans for Democracy in Africa. During that time, he also served as a Senior Associate for the American Council for Higher Education.

    Hytche was born in Porter, OK, and educated in the public schools of Fort Gibson and Tullahassee, OK. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Langston University and his Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Oklahoma State University. He also studied at Oklahoma University, Oberlin College (Ohio), the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of Heidelberg (Germany). 


    Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, 443-614-1395 (cell),