Denis Kitzinger is an assistant professor and Dean of Students at Thomas More College in Merrimack, N.H. He moved from his native Germany to Nashville to play soccer at Lipscomb University. He visits his home country but his wife is an American and he has a son who was born in New Hampshire in February.
He teaches a number of classes in a variety of subjects and is involved in the extracurricular activities of his students as the dean. Despite demands on his time at work and at home he spent some time answering questions for Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play soccer at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
“I played two seasons - 2002 and 2003. My coaches were Jon Goad and Jim Maddux.”
Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb after leaving your native country of Germany?
“I was offered the wonderful opportunity to spend a year abroad and play soccer. It was that, shall we say, simple.
“How could I refuse such an opportunity? Of course, I stayed for another season and was able to finish my BA. That decision to stay then had to do with the school. Because then I truly knew it through the classes and the professors (as I had discovered, through my classes and Professor Dwight Tays) that I ought to pursue graduate studies in political science. And there were also the friendships I had formed.
“Well, I am still in the United States and married to an American. My son was born here. It all started with the opportunity to 'spend a year abroad and play soccer' at Lipscomb University.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“That is tough. Although we did not have the best of seasons, we had a few good and exciting games. I remember the opening home game in 2003. I also remember a win against Florida State. There was another game in 2002 that we played in the pouring rain. But the truth is, I loved my whole experience with the team, coaches, and support staff.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Probably Markus Zobec and Jeffrey Maddux. They were both teammates and very good friends. But there were also many more. I was blessed to be on a team with many good men. I benefited from and was inspired by their examples of sportsmanship and of character in general.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“I would say the friendships. But then again, it also was ‘America’. Being from Germany, I had never been in the U.S. before I came to Lipscomb. I suppose the way that I was received, the Southern manners and etiquette and kindness, had a profound impact on me.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“My journey of faith started at Lipscomb. For that I am forever grateful.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“Dwight Tays and Bill Ingram. Both men pushed and challenged me to master a subject, not just pass a course. Professor Tays was the one who encouraged me to pursue graduate studies at Pepperdine, which I did.”
Where do you live now?
“My wife Sara, my son Josef and I live in Nashua, N.H.”
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I am an assistant professor of humanities and also currently the Dean of Students at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H. We are a small Catholic college with an integrated curriculum.
“I teach a variety of classes from our humanities courses – history of Western Civilization in eight courses – as well as political and moral philosophy. I have taught Euclidean Geometry. Currently I teach a tutorial on the history of economics. As Dean of Students I am responsible for many of the extracurricular affairs of our students.”
Tell us about your family.
“My wife Sara and I were married in 2009 in my hometown in Flörsheim, Germany. We met in graduate school at Pepperdine. The first two years of our marriage we lived in Scotland, in St. Andrews and pursued our PhD’s (I am still working on it). We just had our first child. Our son Josef Maria Rudolf was born Feb. 17, 2014. She is a professor as well.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.