PRINCESS ANNE, Md.
The University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, was mourning the death of William Percy Hytche Sr., a former math professor who led the historically black institution for two decades.
Hytche, 78, died Sunday at his Princess Anne home of an undisclosed illness.
Under 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,” Holden told The (Salisbury) Daily Times.
Hytche first came to UMES as a math instructor in 1960, when it was called Maryland State College. Before that he taught at Oklahoma State University. Hytche became chairman of the math department, then chancellor, a job later changed to the title of president.
One of his achievements was keeping the Princess Anne institution independent from other state schools after integration. 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,” Hytche said in a 1995 interview with The (Baltimore) Sun.
Hytche’s son, William Percy Hytche Jr., told The Daily Times that Hytche 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 the younger Hytche, who is dean of students at Tennessee State University.
During his presidency, Hytche was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 1998, Hytche led a delegation of 10 college presidents who observed the voting process in a national election in Nigeria.
Hytche received honorary degrees from Fisk University in Tennessee, Washington College in Maryland and Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Hytche is survived by his wife, Deloris, a sister and his son and two daughters. Funeral plans were incomplete Monday morning.
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