Recently we acquired two interesting pieces of University of Maryland history, including the very first “key to the campus,” which was presented to alumnus Ralph Tyser on May 22, 1992. The item that accompanied the key was Ralph Tyser’s original University of Maryland diploma from 1940.
Ralph Tyser graduated from the University of Maryland in 1940 with a degree in accounting before serving in the U.S. Army in World War II. After his discharge, Tyser settled in the Washington area and rose to become the president of a liquor distribution company. Tyser was a frequent donor to the University and belonged to many University of Maryland groups including the Terrapin Club, the “M” Club, the Chancellor’s Advisory Council, and the executive committee of the President’s Club. Tyser also earned the honor of having the new addition of Byrd stadium named after him in 1992; the addition would be called Tyser Tower. Since then, Tyser Tower has expanded to include large press and sky box seating areas at Byrd Stadium. Tyser passed away in 1992, a short time after he received the key, but his spirit lives on because of his philanthropic work for the campus.