Dr. Art Lee graphic

Dr. Arthur O. “Art” Lee, BSU professor emeritus of history, passed away Saturday, Sept. 24 at the age of 91.

Dr. Lee, namesake of lecture halls in both the previous and current iteration of Hagg-Sauer Hall, was a member of the BSU faculty for 36 years, from 1959 until his retirement in 1995. He is the author of “University in the Pines,” considered the definitive history of Bemidji State University, published in 1994 in conjunction with the university’s 75th anniversary celebration.


BSU interviewed Art in 2018, leading up to the university’s Centennial Celebration. That interview, which includes several testimonials from former students, is available here.

In another interview, Lee shared his memories of the old Hagg-Sauer Hall in the second-level seating area of the new building. A bronze plaque which named the old Hagg-Sauer Hall 100 lecture hall in his honor, which was bolted to cinderblock walls in the old building, was too heavy for the walls in the new building. BSU facilities crews built a custom end table to be its new home. The plaque is seen in this interview — which may have been Art’s last with BSU.


Dr. Art Lee’s obituary, provided by his family, is found here.

Those wishing to honor Dr. Lee’s lifetime commitment to teaching may make donations to the Arthur O. Lee History and Education Scholarship through an online donation form on the Bemidji State University Alumni & Foundation website.

Donors can make their gift online here

Donations may also be made by mail to the BSU Alumni & Foundation, Attn: Art Lee Scholarship, 1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #17, Bemidji, MN 56601