UGA student Wyatt Banks remembered as a friend to all who loved to travel, cook

Family plans to create foundation in his honor
Wyatt Sean Banks died Feb. 21. He was 19.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Wyatt Sean Banks died Feb. 21. He was 19.

Wyatt Sean Banks excelled in the classroom, on the playing field, behind the piano and while singing.

“While this script of his life tells one side about Wyatt, it does not come close to describing the person he was,” his obituary states. “Wyatt had a big heart, always selflessly willing to help someone hurting or in need. He always offered to use his big size and strength to help grandparents and neighbors with chores.”

Banks, 19, died Feb. 21 in Brumby Hall on the University of Georgia campus, where he was in the honors college and a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity’s Beta Lambda chapter. A GoFundMe page his fraternity brothers created for his family has raised more than $107,000.

“For anything you needed, Wyatt was that guy,” organizers posted. “Our goal for this fundraiser is to raise awareness towards mental health/suicide, hoping to prevent situations like this for anyone else struggling. No matter who you are, your life matters, and know that there are people who want to help. If you are ever struggling, feel alone, or just need someone to talk to, always remember the suicide hotline is 3 dials away - 988 on your phone.”

In lieu of flowers, the Banks family has asked that donations be made directed to help start a foundation they are planning.

“Thanks to the unbelievable generosity of the donors to the GoFundMe campaign launched by his fraternity brothers, we have decided to utilize the funds to create the Wyatt Sean Banks Foundation,” Banks’ family said in his obituary.

The day after Banks’ death, the university community was hit by a second tragedy. Nursing student Laken Hope Riley was found dead near the intramural fields after she failed to return home from a run. Investigators announced an arrest in that case a day later.

The last few days have been some of the most difficult and challenging in the history of this institution as we grieved...

Posted by University of Georgia on Monday, February 26, 2024

On Monday, hundreds attended a vigil on campus to honor both Banks and Riley.

“The last few days have been some of the most difficult and challenging in the history of this institution as we grieved the tragic loss of two members of the Bulldog family,” a UGA Facebook posted stated. “Our hearts ache for those who knew Wyatt and Laken personally.”

Banks attended both Christ the King and the Marist School, where he made the Dean’s List all 18 semesters, his obituary states. He played football for six years and was a reserve offensive lineman on the 2020 state championship team. His senior year he started at right tackle and served as team chaplain on the 2023 team that made the quarterfinals.

A funeral mass will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.