Knofczynski’s named SDSU family of the year

Pat Bowden Reporter

 Honored officially as the 2014 SDSU Family of the Year, the Knofczynski family has had a consistent presence on campus as both faculty and students since 1958. 

This year’s Family of the Year was chosen by the student group Staters for State, who also host other events such as Oozeball, Sizzling Summer Kick Off and the Jackrabbit Birthday Bash.

“Staters work to promote SDSU, encourage student leadership and establish a connection between SDSU alumni and students. Staters are comprised of students from all majors, class years and backgrounds,” said Annie Hanson, Staters for State co-adviser. The guidelines for choosing the Family of the Year include involvement with campus activities, alum involvement, contributions to the university and the family’s total impact to the school.

Between the 38 members of the family, 22 were present on Jan. 11 at the official honoring of their new status during halftime of the women’s basketball game. The family members also have an extensive gamut of individual achievements gained at the school over the past 56 years.

“Being chosen as family of the year was an honor and surprise. Perhaps my and Audrey’s action of word, deed and example served to inspire and encourage our children and grandchildren in their pursuits,” said recipient Clayton Knofczynski. “Their achievements in academics and subsequent accomplishments made us very proud.”


 Clayton’s wife, Audrey, has parallel reactions to receiving the award, and she also feels proud of her family’s history here at SDSU. 

“After getting over the shock of the news I felt so good to see the family being honored and recognized for all their efforts. We’ve always stressed the importance of education and doing their best in whatever they do,” Audrey said. 

Clayton taught mechanical engineering courses over his teaching career at SDSU and his children went on to earn degrees in various fields also at SDSU. Mary Bowne, an associate professor for early childhood development and the youngest of six Knofczynski children following Beth, John, Paul, Charles and Gregory, says that her parents never pushed their kids to attend SDSU and that it was a choice they all made on their own. 

“My parents never told us where to obtain my college education but that we would obtain a college degree of some kind … SDSU had been and will always be my ‘home,’” Bowne said. “They [my siblings] were all highly involved in various activities and received multiple scholarships because of their high grades. I knew I wanted to be like them, and after following in their footsteps, I obtained my first degree … “ 

The nomination initially came as a surprise to the family, as this is an annual award only given to one family a year. 

“Since none of the family had told us we were candidates for the family of the year, we couldn’t believe it, when Annie from the Alumni Association called I asked if she was serious. I told Clayton about the phone call and until we received the letter of congratulations the next day we weren’t really sure,” Audrey said. 

Mary and Greg Knofczynski both earned their doctorate degrees from other schools, but the two of them are currently teaching at SDSU with three cousins working on degrees as well. 

“Education has always been very important in our family … Our own children have been well prepared for their professions and have great jobs,” Audrey said. “Our family’s greatest achievement has been receiving great educations and preparation for their careers.” 

Bowne says that she relates her family’s greatest achievement at SDSU can be related to her father, Clayton and that she aspires to be like him. 

“When the nomination application was submitted, I soon realized my devoted father was not only a teacher but he was a mentor, a supportive colleague, a professional, an advisor, a listener, a leader and so much more,” Bowne said. “Even with his passive demeanor, many students saw him as the greatest teacher they ever had.