A Virginia Tech student— known for getting his peers to sing together and engaging them in debates — passed away while studying abroad in Switzerland earlier this week.
John B. "J.J." Stinson, a Presidential Global Scholar studying at the Riva San Vitale in Switzerland, went missing on Friday. He was a second-year student and an academic junior.
Police found his body at 7:00 p.m. local time, according to Craig Wainner, one of Stinson's roommate at the villa and a junior economics and international studies major. However, Wainner would not disclose where Stinson's body was found. There is no indication of foul play, and police are continuing an investigation of the cause of death, according to a statement from the university.
Police began searching for Stinson after the weekend came to a close — it was personal travel weekend, meaning many students left the area on trips. Students who leave are supposed to leave a note, but Stinson did not leave one before he left.
“Honestly no one knew (where he went)," Wainner said, "We had all asked him, and he said, ‘Hey, I’m just going, just wandering.’ He was the kind of person who just wandered and explored things, he never told us where he was going (for this particular trip)."
Stinson, a philosophy major and Dean's List student, was known for his curiosity, both in terms of exploring and asking big questions.
“He was always inquisitive, always challenging you to think in different ways,” Wainner said. “He liked to put you on the spot, but in a friendly way. He loved to have friendly discussions and debates.”
Wainner said his cheerful personality will be missed.
“He had lots of energy, always happy, always smiling, fun loving," Wainner said. "He was a great friend, and a lot of us will miss him. He’s in our hearts.”
Stinson, of Alexandria, Va., was one of 30 students participating in the Presidential Global Scholars program at the Center for European Studies and Architecture. Students in the program spend spring semester at Tech's Riva San Vitale in Switzerland.
The villa is also being used by students studying architecture. The architecture students were away are are returning tonight local time. All of the Tech students will hold a candle light vigil.
Last night, the Newman Community Catholic Campus Ministry held a prayer service at the Newman House. Stinson was an active member of the community.