Bela Malcom Lawrence

Bela Malcom Lawrence
6th President of Dakota State
In office
Febraury – July, 1920
Preceded by John W. Heston
Succeeded by Edgar C. Higbie
 Personal Details
Born January 1, 1857 Cherryfeild, Maine
Died  March 31, 1925 Madison, South Dakota


B. M. Lawrence was born in Cherryfield, Maine, January 1, 1857. He graduated from high school in his home town and later attended Coburn Classical Institute in Waterloo, Maine. He was graduated from Colby College with an A. B. and received his M. A. from the University of Chicago. Shortly after his graduation from Colby, he came to Owatonna, Minnesota, and taught for one year at Pillsbury Academy. From here he went to Farmington, Minnesota, as principal. On March 30, 1886, he married Miss Laura E. Arey. To this union were born four children, three dying in infancy. From Farmington, he went to Lisbon, North Dakota, where he taught in a Baptist College. Later he served as Superintendent of Schools at Lisbon. Daughter Alice was born in Lisbon. From Lisbon, he came to Flandreau, South Dakota, as superintendent of schools. In 1905, he joined the faculty of the Madison State Normal School as head of the Mathematics Department and Superintendent of the training department. In 1917, he was appointed Secretary and Registrar and served in this capacity until ill health forced his retirement. Mr. Lawrence was a member and an active worker in the Baptist Church. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon College Fraternity, Evergreen Lodge A. F. & A. M., and served as W. M. at two different times. He also belonged to the R. A. M. and Commandery. He was the head of the Memorial Day Association in Madison for several years, and held several offices in the South Dakota Educational Association. B. M. Lawrence died March 31, 1925. His funeral was held in the Masonic Temple in Madison, and he was buried in Farmington, Minnesota. Mr. Lawrence was affectionately known by the nickname of “Barney.” Although no one ever called him that to his face.


Lowry, V. A. Forty Years at General Beadle (1922-1962). Madison, SD:

Dakota State University, 1984. pg 22, 23, 24.