UMES Remembers Educator, Humanitarian

  • Monday, September 3, 2007

    Hytche Remembered1PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Some 800 mourners traveled to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus and its Metropolitan United Methodist Church during two days of mourning for educator and humanitarian, Dr. William Percy Hytche Sr.   Educators, legislators, clergy and UMES faculty, staff and students joined family, friends and well-wishers to celebrate a life decorated with vast accomplishment.   After an extended illness, the once tireless educator died peacefully in his home on Sunday, July 15.

    "Bill was a compassionate and visionary leader who set high standards of performance for UMES and for those who wanted to collaborate with his institution," said Dr. William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. "UMES is the fine university it is today largely because of Bill's leadership, drive, energy and ability to garner resources from a variety of sources including the State, the federal government and the private sector. I learned so much watching Bill operate in Annapolis with his remarkable ability to persuade and cajole legislators. Once he finished one of his eloquent and inimitable presentations, the budget committees were putty in his hands. Bill leaves behind an amazing legacy of accomplishment--and many, many friends and admirers."

     "Dr. William P. Hytche's contributions to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore are indelible," said Dr. Thelma B. Thompson, UMES president. "The University family has indeed suffered a great loss and share in the grief of Mrs. Deloris Hytche, her children and her grandchildren.  UMES continues to be indebted to Dr. Hytche for his leadership, his contributions, his passion and most importantly, his vision." 

    The funeral service, which was broadcast on the university's closed circuit television system, spanned four hours of remembrances, well-placed humor and words of comfort.  Immediately following the funeral, Hytche's funeral car was led by police escort around the academic oval to finally pause in front of J. T. Williams Hall, the university's administrative building, just below the suite of offices where he worked for some 21 years as president.  Students, waving flags from 12 different countries, lined the top of the international flag mall just in front of Williams Hall in salute to the fallen Hawk, who forged international, educational linkages between UMES and several universities and agencies situated in African countries: Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt, Israel and Nigeria. 

                Touted as a legend in his own lifetime, Hytche was remembered by his college roommate, colleague and friend as the "Big Man on Campus" at Langston University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.  Even then, said Dr. Henry Ponder, president emeritus of Fisk University, he was entrusted with "important jobs" to which he effortlessly applied himself - a character trait that would remain constant during subsequent leadership positions. 

    As first sergeant in the U.S. Army he was lauded for his character, his attitude and his abilities in leading many men who were older than he.  Following his two-year stint in the military, he worked various teaching jobs, including teaching at the university level from 1960, when he was recruited to teach at UMES by then president Dr. John Taylor Williams, until he took the helm at UMES as acting chancellor in 1975 and then chancellor in 1976. 

    "With the passing of Dr. Hytche," said Dr. Earl Richardson, Morgan State Collex