- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) — William Percy Hytche Sr., who served as president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for two decades, died July 15 at his Princess Anne home of an undisclosed illness. He was 78.

Under Mr. Hytche’s leadership, the school more than tripled its enrollment from 1,046 when he took control of the school in 1975 to 3,209 students in 1997. About 32 academic programs were added during his tenure.

“He dedicated his life to this university,” said Ronnie Holden, UMES vice president for administrative affairs.

“It was not unusual to stop by his office on a Saturday night at 10 p.m. and see him working there — developing reports, plans and talking to legislators on nights and weekends,” Mr. Holden told the Salisbury Daily Times.


Mr. Hytche came to UMES as a math instructor in 1960, when it was called Maryland State College. He became chairman of the math department, then chancellor, a job later changed to the title of president, and served for 21 years before retiring in 1997.

One of his achievements was keeping the Princess Anne institution independent from other state schools after integration. Mr. Hytche resisted efforts in the 1970s to merge the campus with Salisbury State University as colleges became integrated.

“They wanted to close us down, merge us, make a chicken farm out of us, make a prison out of us,” Mr. Hytche said in a 1995 interview with the Baltimore Sun.

William Percy Hytche Jr. told the Daily Times that his father enjoyed being able to meet different types of people in his job.

“He could speak with heads of states, presidents, kings, prime ministers, but he could also speak to the waterman in Princess Anne or to a student who didn’t have anything who was hungry, and he would feed them,” said Mr. Hytche, who is dean of students at Tennessee State University.

During his presidency, Mr. Hytche was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the president’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 1998, he led a delegation of college presidents who observed the voting process in a national election in Nigeria.

Mr. Hytche was born in Porter, Okla., and was educated in the public schools of Fort Gibson and Tallahassee, Okla. He received a bachelor’s degree from Langston University and a master’s and doctorate from Oklahoma State University, where he taught before coming to UMES. He also studied at Oklahoma University, Oberlin College in Ohio, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Mr. Hytche received honorary degrees from Fisk University in Tennessee, Washington College in Chestertown and Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Survivors include his wife, Deloris; a sister; a son and two daughters.