For one graduating Pioneer, UW-Platteville runs in the family

left to right are Lelia Skaife and Alexandria Loy
November 29, 2018

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – More than 425 candidates will walk across the stage on Saturday, Dec. 15 during the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 201st commencement ceremony, but for one particular student the occasion will also celebrate a special connection to the past. Alexandria Loy, a business administration major from Onalaska, Wisconsin, will be graduating from UW-Platteville exactly 100 years after her great-grandmother did.

Loy’s great-grandmother, Lelia Skaife, graduated from what was then named the Platteville Normal School in 1918. After graduating she then went on to teach English at Livingston High School from 1918-27. Her younger brother was even among the many students she taught over the years. Skaife’s family remembers her as a very reserved person who enjoyed playing the piano and attending church.

Loy’s family connections to UW-Platteville do not end there. She estimates that since her great-grandmother’s graduation, a dozen other family members have also graduated from UW-Platteville. This includes her grandfather, Robert Dempsey, a 1959 graduate who studied chemistry.

“He tells stories about whitewashing the ‘M’, his carpool gang he had with other students from Fennimore, and hanging out in the old Ullsvik building,” said Loy. In fact, it was her grandfather who helped persuade her to attend UW-Platteville. Loy was undecided about where to attend college, but when he took her to a UW-Platteville alumni event in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she had the chance to talk to other alumni and decided UW-Platteville could be the place for her.

Loy is now graduating and has not regretted the decision. While at UW-Platteville she has been involved in the Kappa Alpha Sigma sorority, the tennis club, and also completed an internship at Eagle Ridge in Galena, Illinois. “It has been a full college experience for me,” said Loy. “I really like how the university focuses on the well-being of students, and offers one-on-one time with professors. It has a good hometown feeling.”

After graduating, Loy hopes to work in human resources. She said she already has plans to return for Homecoming – a tradition she’ll likely keep in the family.


Written by: Alison Parkins, associate director of Public Relations, 608-342-1526,


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