Family of the Year


The Clayton and Audrey Knofczynski Family were selected by the SDSU Alumni Association and Staters for State, the student alumni organization.  The Knofczynski family was honored during halftime at the January 11 SDSU Women’s Basketball Game.

22 members of the Knofczynski Family were in attendance on January 11.  Members included: Clayton Knofczynski, Audrey Knofczynski, Mark Determan, Beth Determan, Laurel Determan, Cathy Determan, Rebecca Determan, Ben Determan, Sarah Determan, John Knofczynski, Leah Knofczynski, Mike Knofczynski, Ann Knofczynski, Amy Knofczynski, Charles Knofczynski, Gregory Knofczynski, Aaron Bowne, Mary Bowne, Kadence Bowne, Kyra Bowne, Drew Bowne and Nicholas Bowne.  16 members of the Knofczynski family were unable to attend.  Members included: Paul Knofczynski, Dee Ann Knofczynski, Joseph Knofczynski, Allie Knofczynski, Chris Knofczynski, Marissa Knofczynski, Luke Knofczynski, Joshua Knofczynski, Stacey Knofczynski, Isabel Knofczynski, Maya Knofczynski, Lucy Knofczynski, Edison Knofczynski, Otto Knofczynski, Clay Knofczynski, and Zoey Knofczynski.

The Knofczynski family has been present at SDSU since 1958, when Clayton began teaching in the engineering department.  (He graduated from SDSU in 1958).  There has been at least one family member either teaching or attending the university since then.  All six of Clayton and Audrey’s children attended SDSU and were involved in multiple activities.  In addition, three of Clayton and Audrey daughter- and son-in-laws are SDSU graduates.  The couple has 24 grandchildren, ranging in age from 25 to 2.  Seven of the grandchildren are of college age – one graduated from SDSU, one is currently attending, and one will be attending college next year, and another has applied and been accepted to SDSU.  Among the younger grandchildren, four have attended or are currently enrolled in the SDSU preschool program, one of whom is currently a ball-boy for SDSU’s basketball teams. 


Clayton and Audrey’s children left their mark at SDSU.  Here are some highlights of what the Knofczynski Family has accomplished while attending SDSU or after attending SDSU.  Daughter, Beth (Knofczynski) Determan was a Briggs Scholarship recipient, a member of 3 honor societies, and President of ETA Kapp Nu from 1984-1985.  Beth was a Computer Programmer for climatology office on campus from 1982 to 1984.  Beth’s husband, Mark Determan taught algebra and trigonometry as a graduate assistant from 1980 to 1981.  Beth and Mark’s daughter, Laurel Determan was a recipient of several scholarships, a member of Golden Key International Honor Society, involved in FOCUS/the Newman Center, involved in Jacks for Life, and worked part-time in Weary Wil’s and as a Student Worker in the Early Childhood Department.  Sarah Determan has applied and been accepted to SDSU for 2014. 

Son, John Knofczynski graduated with high honor and was involved in IEEE, Joint Engineering Council, Phi Kappa Phi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.  John continues to support SDSU through annual personal donations to scholarships.  John convinced Heartland to provide a donation in support of the first phase of the Daktronics Engineering Hall and to provide financial support for a student project to install a photovoltaic project at Volcanoes National Park.  He has also developed a policy at Heartland to provide annual scholarships for engineering students at SDSU.    His wife, Leah (Schutt) Knofczynski was involved in Delta Kappa Gamma honor society.  John and Leah’s son, Mike Knofczynski is a junior at SDSU majoring in Mechanical Engineering.  He works for the Office of Information Technology providing computer support across the campus.  He has also participated in the blacksmith club and ASME.  Amy Knofczynski has applied to SDSU and plans to enroll in the SDSU horticulture program. 

Son, Paul Knofczynski was a recipient of scholarship and was involved in ASCE while attending SDSU.

Son, Charles (Chuck) Knofczynski was a member of Eta Kappa Nu, a member of Tau Beta PI, a member of Engineering Council, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Air Force ROTC, Intramural basketball, football, and volleyball.  Chuck was also a UPD employee and ground crew employee. Charles was the recipient of the Briggs Scholarship and ROTC scholarship.

Son, Greg Knofczynski  was a recipient of several scholarships, participated in SDSU marching band, participated in economics club, and was a an instructor of mathematics from 1993 to 1999.  Greg was also in charge of the mathematics tutoring sessions.  Greg’s wife, Stacey (Skyberg) Knofczynski was a recipient of several scholarships, on the PR Team for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and was in Phi Upsilon Omicron and Kappa Delta Pi.

Daughter, Mary (Knofczynski) Bowne was a recipient of several scholarships and participated in SDSU AEYC Organization as student and leader.  Mary is currently serving as an Associate Professor in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Department.  Like her father, Mary also received numerous awards for her teaching, research and service.  Mary received the College of Education and Human Services Service Award in 2013, the Distinguished Family and Consumer Sciences Faculty Award in 2009, and the College of Education and Human Sciences Scholarly Award in 2009.  Four of Mary’s children have attended or are currently attending SDSU preschool and one is currently a ball boy for the SDSU basketball games.  Mary and her husband, Aaron, contribute regularly to the College of Education and Human Sciences, College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, and SDSU Athletics. 

Like his children, Clayton also left his mark at SDSU.  While attending SDSU he was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was elected to represent the South Dakota college branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers on the college student engineering council in 1957. Clayton was an instructor in the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1963 to 1966.  From 1968 to 1980 Clayton was an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and from  1980 to 1990 was  a professor in Mechanical Engineering Department .   In 1977 to 1978 Clayton was Acting Department Head in the Mechanical Engineering Department.    Clayton received many awards from SDSU and other organizations for his excellence in teaching and service.  To name a few, Clayton was named SDSU College of Engineering “Teacher of the Year” in 1975, 1976, 1988, and was a candidate for the award in 1972, 1973, 1984, and 1985.  Clayton also received the F.O. Butler Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence in 1984. 

  • Clayton Knofczynski, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1958 and M.S. in Engineering, 1965


  • Beth (Knofczynski) Determan, B.S in Electrical Engineering, 1985


  • Mark Determan, B.S. in Mathematics, 1980 and B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1981


  • Laurel Determan, B.S. in Human Development, 2011


  • Sarah Determan, May attend SDSU in the Fall of 2014


  • Mary (Knofczynski) Bowne, B.S. in Early Childhood Education, 1999 and M.S. in Human Development, 2002


  • Charles Knofczynski, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1990


  • Greg Knofczynski, B.S. in Mathematics, 1991 and M.S. in Mathematics, 1993


  • Stacey (Skyberg) Knofczynski, B.S. in Early Childhood Education, 1999


  • John Knofczynski, B.S. in Electrical Engineering, 1987


  • Leah (Schutt) Knofczynski, B.S. in Speech Pathology, 1986


  • Mike Knofczynski, Currently attending SDSU, majoring in Mechanical Engineering


  • Amy Knofczynski, Will attend SDSU in the Fall of 2014


  • Paul Knofczynski, B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1989

Families of the year are selected by Staters for State based on dedication, loyalty, support and contributions to SDSU, members of family who attended SDSU, and involvement as students and alumni.

To nominate someone for the Family of the Year, click here to download a nomination form. Please fill out and return to the Tompkins Alumni Center by December 1st.

905 Medary Ave., Brookings, SD, 57007
(605) 697.5198 or toll-free (888) 735.2257

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