FAYETTE, Iowa (October 8, 2007) – The great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth and Robert Alexander, Upper Iowa University’s prominent founders, will serve as grand marshal for the 2007 UIU Homecoming parade. Patricia Robertson Breden, Marshfield, Wis., accepted the honor and looks forward to returning to her ancestors’ legacy with her family.
It was in 1854 that Elizabeth Alexander proposed the idea of a college to her husband, Robert Alexander. In turn, he donated $10,000 and his son-in-law, Samuel Robertson, donated $5,000 and 10 acres of land to establish Upper Iowa University in Fayette. Construction began in 1855, and the building which has been named Alexander-Dickman Hall was built with native limestone blocks. In the following year, the first Board of Trustees meeting was conducted with James Robertson serving as a member. On Jan. 7, 1857, the first classes began at Upper Iowa University. What began as a vision by Elizabeth Alexander, the Alexander family made reality and set the course for UIU to expand and thrive for the next 150 years.
“I am just thrilled that my ancestors are being remembered this way and really appreciate the fact that the university is keeping the memories of the pioneers alive,” Breden said. Researching her family’s history is a passion for Breden, and she devotes time in genealogy to pass on to her children and grandchildren.
Breden will lead the UIU Homecoming parade at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 13 in downtown Fayette. For a complete calendar of the week’s 150th anniversary Homecoming events, go to www.uiu.edu.