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Dr. Bruce Klonsky

Photo Bruce Klonsky
Dr. Bruce Klonsky

In Memoriam

Dr. Bruce G. Klonsky, a devoted SUNY Fredonia educator and researcher in Psychology for over 40 years, died July 6, 2022 at a hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.  As with most life challenges he faced, he made a valiant and sustained effort to overcome the sudden and unexpected illness that claimed his life.

Bruce was the eldest son of Sam and Gertrude (Trudy) Klonsky of the Bronx, NY,  who, like many parents, made sacrifices to ensure their two sons had more life opportunities then they themselves were afforded.  They raised Bruce only an elevated train stop or two from Yankee Stadium and sports heroes like Mickey Mantle, which would  inspire a  lifelong passion (personal and professional) for sports.  He attended DeWitt Clinton high school in the Bronx and completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at Herbert Lehman College in 1971. 

Dr. Klonsky went on to receive both a Master’s of Science and Ph.D. in Psychology from Fordham University, where his personality and behavior exemplified the values of that Jesuit university.  He taught at West Virginia University for one year prior to joining the SUNY Fredonia Psychology Department in 1979.  That year helped prepare him for the rigors of the academic and country life that he would enjoy as a first-year professor at SUNY Fredonia, where fragrant grape vineyards, Lake Erie snows, and challenging students awaited him.  Bruce was promoted to Associate Professor in 1986 and Full Professor in 1992.

During his career, Dr. Klonsky taught over 15 different courses, supervised hundreds of internship students, and was a creative and appreciative research mentor for many motivated undergraduates.  His own research focused on leadership, social development, and various aspects of sport psychology, most recently examining the use of sport psychologists by professional sports teams. Dr. Klonsky made over 50 conference  presentations, authored or co-authored numerous monographs, journal articles, and chapters in edited books, many with SUNY Fredonia students and colleagues.  Dr. Klonsky was also very active in the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, where he was recently appointed to Fellow Status for his contributions in that arena. 

Dr. Klonsky contributed to the campus and community in countless ways over the years.  He was a longtime advisor to Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.  After a sabbatical return to West Virginia University for special training in counseling, Bruce volunteered his time serving as a counselor at his  SUNY Fredonia campus counseling center for over two years.  He was also awarded several grants for projects that paid tribute to populations that had overcome serious adversities and traumas like military stressors, family violence and sexual abuse, and medical and mental health challenges. One of these “healing arts tributes”  included oral presentations and exhibitions of art works by such campus and community populations at the renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

With his unique combination of quiet demeanor,  wry sense of humor, grit, endurance, and good character, Bruce was an invaluable asset to his students, his university, and the broader community.  He strived to make a positive difference in the lives of others, on and off campus.  Survivors include his spouse, Sandra; his daughter, Taylor; and a brother, Steven. 

A celebration of Bruce Klonsky’s life is being planned for a date on or near his September 30th birthdate and may include virtual as well as in-person participation. 

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