'I do love UMES ...'

  • Saturday, September 17, 2011

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sept. 17, 2011) - Descendents of important figures in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's history came to campus today for a "heritage brunch" organized as part of the institution's 125th anniversary celebration.

    The son and grandson of the man who wrote the UMES alma mater and the son of one of the institution's most revered leaders during the modern era were among the guests who attended the event at the Richard A. Henson Center.

    Earl Richardson, Jesse Cottman Smith, Deloris Hytche and William P. Hytche Jr.

    "I'm here to say I do love UMES," said William P. Hytche Jr., whose namesake was the university's chief executive from 1975 until 1997.

    It wasn't always that way for the younger Hytche, who grew up on campus and watched his father devote long hours to governing an institution often the target of criticism and ridicule. At times, Hytche admitted being jealous of the school for distracting his father's attention.

    But as an adult, Hytche came to realize "UMES is not just a campus of bricks and mortar, but a campus filled with people of feelings and caring,"

    Today, the younger Hytche said he recognizes the long hours his father put in "transformed in front of most of our eyes a rural campus into one of the most beautiful campuses in the America."

    Hytche, who followed in his father's footsteps as a college administrator, said he is proud "to be named after my hero."

    It was a nostalgic day of reflection for the 100 or so guests - many with alumni or professional ties to the university. The event's featured speaker - Dr. Earl S. Richardson - has both.

    Richardson, a 1965 graduate of Maryland State College, as the university was known between 1947 and 1970, told of growing up poor on a farm in nearby Westover, and how he became the first generation in his family to go to and graduate from college.

    Richardson became an educator and worked at UMES before moving on to Morgan State University, from which he retired in June 2010 after 25½ years as president. At its founding on Sept. 13, 1886, UMES was a branch campus of Morgan when it was known as Centenary Biblical Institute.

    "If there is a speech to be made" about the meaning of UMES, Richardson said. "it has already been made."

    "Each of us has a story to tell about this institution," Richardson said, "that no one else can tell."

    "There's something about our historically black college that can't be replicated," he said.

    The event also attracted retired university educators, giving it a reunion flavor.

    Paul Trotter of Upper Marlboro, Md., president of UMES' alumni association, proudly introduced his extended family, which includes Daniel L. Ridout Jr. and Dr. Daniel L. Ridout III, the son and grandson of the man credited with writing the school song.

    Everyone heartily sang it at the end of the event:

    "Maryland, Maryland, home of Maroon and Gray"

    "Maryland, Maryland, thee we will love always …" 

    # # #

    Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 41x