Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast’s biggest fan and longest serving SGA senator

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Felix Kinsley poses with his Semo Jerry Westbrook award after the 2019 HawkSpys Award Show.
Photo by Mariena Carter ~ Staff Writer

At 67 years of age, Felix Kinsley has reached his 19th year as an honorary senator for Student Government Association and continues to be recognized for his dedication and commitment to Southeast.

Now almost 40 years after, Kinsley is serving as Honorary Senator of SGA and was recently awarded a trophy and Southeast letterman jacket at the 2019 HawkSpys Award Show on April 8.

“I’m glad to be here and that all this is happening to me,” Kinsley said.

Kinsley was the first recipient of the Jerry Westbrook Award. This award was given to Kinsley to recognize him for always attending Southeast sporting events and being the biggest fan.

Kinsley was in complete shock when junior Southeast football player Brandt Selesky called him and asked him to attend HawkSpys because he would be receiving an award.

“As you can imagine I was thinking, “What award?” Kinsley said. “But I was also thinking, ‘Wow, I have never won a trophy before.’”

While attending Southeast in the 1970s, Felix ran for off-campus senator, but only stayed in the position for one week. Kinsley said he had dropped from 12 credit hours to only three which made him ineligible to be an active member.

Kinsley graduated from Southeast in 1978. He returned to campus for an SGA meeting in 1980, not realizing it would begin his long journey with student government.

“Coming back for my first SGA meeting, I sat at the table and nobody chased me away,” Kinsley said. “So I kept returning and began treating student government like it was my job.”

Kinsley attends the weekly SGA meetings every Monday as honorary senator.

He added the only reason he has ever missed an SGA meeting is due to medical reasons. After years of dedication, and rarely missing weekly meetings senators began to wonder how long Kinsley had been involved.

“At a meeting in 2000, one of the senators asked me how long I had been in student government, so I told him I had been on since 1980,” Kinsley said.

Not long after, the executive committee of SGA decided to create the honorary senator position and announced Kinsley the first recipient of it on April 17, 2000.

“When I received the award the whole student government stood up and this was the first time I got a standing ovation before,” Kinsley said.

He said his favorite part about SGA is participating in the meetings and getting to know everyone.

“I had a difficult time when I started school here making a lot of friends, but once I got in student government that all changed,” Kinsley said.

Kinsley has made a lot of friends over the years, and one of those friends is junior senator Joshua Derrington, who has a routine of picking up and dropping off Kinsley every Monday night for SGA meetings.

Kinsley turns 68 this month, but he has no plans on retiring from his position at SGA anytime soon.

“Only way I would not be in student government is if I’m getting so old and I cannot communicate well, but I’m hoping that won’t be for a long while,” Kinsley said.