Student Government Names Dobbins ‘Honorary Senator’

Photo of Dr. Kenneth Dobbins

Southeast Missouri State University President Kenneth W. Dobbins is often in the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo., rubbing elbows with state legislators and representing his institution.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 2, 2007 – Southeast Missouri State University President Kenneth W. Dobbins is often in the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City, Mo., rubbing elbows with state legislators and representing his institution.

But it was on his home campus in Cape Girardeau last week that he earned the title of “honorary senator.”

Southeast Student Government adopted a resolution last week, naming Dobbins an “honorary senator,” a title bestowed by Student Government for only the second time in its history.

“He has done a lot for us,” said Rachel Padgett, former vice president of Student Government. “He really listens to students and takes all things into consideration. He is very approachable and willing to work with us to make this a better university.”

Adam Hanna, former Student Government president and a senior from Sparta, Ill., said the idea to make Dobbins an honorary senator first surfaced in Jefferson City in February. That’s when Student Government executives traveled to the state capitol to meet with legislators and Dobbins.

“The executives were very impressed with the work he has done,” Hanna said.

Talks to name Dobbins an honorary senator continued in earnest with the Executive Council throughout the spring, and in late April, Student Government met in closed session to make the idea a reality. The resolution was unanimously approved, Hanna said. Dobbins was presented with the honor April 30 at an annual banquet for Student Government, the All-University Judicial Board and the Student Activities Council.

“This recognizes his commitment to Student Government and involving us in decision-making,” Hanna said, noting that Dobbins has supported Student Government on a number of issues, including the naming of the new mascot, building of the Student Aquatic Center, initiation of the W.I.N.G.S. shuttle and the launch of the Student Entrepreneurship Program. “He has done so much for Student Government and given us a lot of access.”

Padgett, a junior social student major from Belleville, Ill., who will serve as a Student Government senator next year, said Dobbins “has a real openness with students. I don’t think any of my friends at other universities know their university president. He knows my first and last name. He knows my parents. He’s very friendly and easy to work with.”

Upon receiving the award, Dobbins told students attending the banquet this was one of the best awards he had received, Padgett said.

“I know he has received many honors,” Padgett said, “so that’s pretty cool.”

Felix Kinsley of Cape Girardeau was the first to be named an honorary Student Government senator in April 2000, Hanna said.