Family legacy honored with renaming of Busby Hall of Engineering

Edward and Lois Busby
Edward and Lois Busby
Edward, Lois and John Busby with former Chancellor David Markee.
Edward, Lois and John Busby with former Chancellor David Markee at the groundbreaking for Engineering Hall.
Pictured left to right are Terry and John Busby, Lois and Ed Busby, and Paula (Busby) and Ralph Latta.
Pictured left to right are Terry and John Busby, Lois and Ed Busby, and Paula (Busby) and Ralph Latta.
A plaque commemorating the Edward O. and Lois E. Busby Wing of Engineering Hall, dedicated in 2009.
A plaque commemorates the Edward O. and Lois E. Busby Wing of Engineering Hall, dedicated in 2009.

For more than 50 years, the Busby family has helped transform and enrich the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and greater Platteville community. From paving the way for UW-Platteville’s esteemed engineering programs to volunteering in the community and supporting students with scholarships, the Busby family – Edward and Lois, and their children John, Thomas and Paula (Latta) – have left their mark. To honor their family legacy, UW-Platteville will rename Engineering Hall to the Busby Hall of Engineering.

The Busby family moved from Madison, Wisconsin to Platteville in 1966, when Edward was hired as the dean of UW-Platteville’s College of Engineering. For the next 18 years, Edward played an instrumental role in the growth of the college, overseeing the process for the first ABET accreditation and the addition of mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering programs to the curriculum. He retired from UW-Platteville in 1988.

Edward led a distinguished career in engineering. He was a member of the Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers for 57 years, serving as state president and national director of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He was appointed by Gov. Lee Dreyfus to the Board of Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors and was involved in the development of the Engineers Exam, the passing of which is a requirement for registered Professional Engineers. Edward passed away in 2011.

"Ed Busby was the driving force for bringing the engineering program into the future,” said Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “He laid the foundation for the strength of the engineering program.”

Edward’s son, John Busby, said that naming the building for his father and family will help current and future students to recognize this impact.

“There is a generation of engineers that will understand that there were other people ahead of them that made UW-Platteville engineering what it is today,” he said.

Lois was active in the university community as well, working closely with the faculty wives’ organization.

“My father and mother always looked at themselves as ‘team Busby,’ because my mother was a driving force also,” said John.

Lois was also a leader in the Platteville community, serving as president of the Jaycettes, founder of the Platteville chapter of the American Field Service, chairperson of the Platteville chapter of the American Cancer Society, treasurer of the Grant County Republican Party and more. 

“The Platteville community is very warm and welcoming,” said John. “In a smaller town, it is easier to make a difference, and I’d like to think my parents made a difference.”

John is a graduate of UW-Platteville, earning his bachelor’s degree in general science and chemistry in 1976. He was active in the university’s ROTC program, and was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1974. He later graduated from the Marquette University School of Dentistry. He established a dentistry practice in Madison in 1983.

John has remained an active leader with UW-Platteville, serving on the UW-Platteville Foundation Board of Directors and the UW-Platteville Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 2013, he was honored for his longstanding commitment to UW-Platteville with the Denny Pratt Volunteer of the Year Award.

According to John, his decision to stay involved with UW-Platteville is simple: to pay it forward to future generations.

“I had a really great experience at UW-Platteville, and I just hope any other kid that goes there has the equivalent,” said John.

It is a sentiment the entire Busby family has always shared, as they have all been consistent supporters of scholarships for students demonstrating need, including the Edward and Lois Busby Scholarship and the Busby Family Entrepreneurial Scholarship.

“The Busby family, as a whole, has been so supportive of the university in a number of ways,” said Chancellor Shields. “For instance, John has mentored many students who wish to enter the dental profession. It is a fitting tribute to name our building the Busby Hall of Engineering.”

John said that if he could sum up his feelings about the renaming of the building in one word, it would be “honor.”

“It was an honor for me to go to UW-Platteville; my parents always put a huge value on education,” said John. “I think it’s an honor to have my father recognized.”

“It is our privilege to recognize Dean Ed Busby’s legacy through this naming,” said Dr. Molly Gribb, dean of the College of EMS.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the naming of the building will take place at a later date. Engineering Hall opened in 2008 and is home to electrical and computer engineering, engineering physics, industrial engineering, the Nanotechnology Center for Collaborative Research and Development and more. UW-Platteville produces the second-largest number of Bachelor of Science engineering degrees in Wisconsin.

The Busby Hall of Engineering will soon be joined by a new engineering hall, the $55 million Sesquicentennial Hall, which will break ground later this fall and further enhance the program Edward Busby grew.