UT Tyler Office of News and Information

Meet the Patriots: UT Tyler Sets Foundation for Texas Music Star

September 3, 2010

Media Contact:
Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

Editor’s Note: The University of Texas at Tyler prides itself on its remarkable ensemble of students and alumni. In this three-part feature series, “Meet the Patriots,” we will focus on some of those individuals.


A Texas country music staple, Brandon Rhyder appreciates his time at The University of Texas of Tyler and the foundation UT Tyler is known for providing its students.

Graduating in 1997 with a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology, the Carthage native remembers his days at UT Tyler, which was then an upper-level university.

“My time at UT Tyler was special,” Rhyder recalls. “Sure, it was tough, but I’m proud of my accomplishments there. It was the first time in my life where I felt really tested. I had to raise the bar, and the professors and academics required it. It kicked my tail, but I got the hang of it finally.”

After graduation, Rhyder found a job – as a safety and environmental manager – and the guitar. He eventually tested the music industry waters.

“I put a small band together and moved to Austin to see if it might be possible to do something so outlandish,” he said. “It worked.”

On the road for nine years now, Rhyder conducts about 200 shows annually. He credits UT Tyler for giving him that foundation upon which to excel. Six released CDs later, Rhyder is proud and thankful.

“Music has never been a job to me. What I do has never been anything other than my passion,” Rhyder explains. “I’ve worked very hard to become better at my craft – to be a better songwriter, singer and player. It’s finally paying off.

“UT Tyler was extremely tough for me. I had to work hard to keep my grades up and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember seeing that I had 48 hours left, and I knew I was going to graduate that year. I worked full time and went to school full time and made that dream a reality,” he adds.

And so, the Texas country music star has made his mark and continues to shine bright, with UT Tyler not far from his mind.

“I truly believe it helped set my career in motion even though I am not working in the general profession,” Rhyder said. “I will always proudly hang that degree on my wall. UT Tyler, thank you!”

Rhyder currently is playing dates in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. The latest single, “You Burn Me,” from his CD, Head Above Water, is in both Texas Regional Radio Report’s and Texas Music Chart’s top 10.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

Meet the Patriots Fall 2010 Feature Series:

Meet the Patriots: 2008-09

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 Last Published 1/7/11