Christopher Nitzband went home to be with the Lord on Friday, February 9, 2018. Christopher was from Blount County and graduated from Alcoa High School in 2013. He was a senior at Bryan College, pursuing an ambitious double major in Liberal Arts with a Classical Studies focus and in Philosophy & Culture, with minors in Greek and Biblical Studies. He had recently been accepted to graduate school. We remember this outstanding young man as an accomplished and devoted academic and truly remarkable friend.
Christopher stood out on the Bryan College campus in both academics and in person. Known for his academic tenacity, his professors described him as the ideal student, always in pursuit of knowledge. He could often be found in the Christian studies office reading, studying and drinking coffee. He had a great joy and love for learning. He got excited about and loved the process of research. Dr. Peter Held recalled a conversation with Christopher in which he expressed that he just could not understand why students would cheat and circumvent the learning process, an attitude Dr. Held highlighted in his recommendation letter to Harvard on behalf of Christopher.
His love for academics and the academic process was evident in not only his work but in his actions and passionate conversations with friends and professors. Described as a philosopher, theologian and poet, Christopher had a love for words and a talent for languages. His friends noted that he sometimes talked over their heads, but he always took time to explain his terms, thoughts and ideas. Numerous classmates and friends recalled times when Christopher explained obscure concepts and academic references with a vigorous passion they’d seldom seen from professors, much less a fellow student. “Christopher was a person who could passionately debate his argument with you, call you a heretic, and then become your closest friend,” said Christopher’s friend Jeremy Eastwood as he recalled an event early in their friendship.
His love for academics did not overshadow his love for people. He was known for his ability to interact with new students and served as one of Bryan’s student orientation leaders. He put his out going personality and sense of humor to good use by making others feel welcome, and he truly cared about people. He was always willing to listen and make sure people knew they were not alone. He would spend time getting to know people, challenging them in ways no one ever had, and was not afraid to say something they did not want to hear. He was a dedicated and caring friend to both students and professors. “Christopher was one of the deepest friendships I’ve had since coming to this school… he was not just my student. He was my brother in Christ, one of my true friends,” said Dr. Sam Youngs, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies.
Described by friends as witty, intellectual, good-humored and an all-around great friend, Christopher left his mark on numerous individuals. His love of corny jokes always led to a brilliant smile and memorable laugh, both of which will be deeply missed. Dr. Paul Boling was right when he added, “This is a loss not only for us as friends and teachers, obviously a huge loss for his family, but the future loss of his contribution to knowledge.”
Together we mourn the loss of this brilliant and caring young man. We will forever remember him as a scholarly gentleman who was loving, smart and always impeccably dressed.