Family and friends seek to honor recently passed SIU alum who co-founded Saluki AdLab

June 8, 2022

Friends and family of the late SIU alum Corydon Vine, a co-founder of Saluki AdLab, are raising money to establish a memorial to him at the university.

Vine was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer after a tumor was found in his stomach in October 2020. After a long battle, which included chemotherapy, Vine died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital on March 12, 2022.

An avid media student, Vine spent much of his time assisting in projects at the SIU chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). One of the people he worked with was fellow SIU student Hannah Smith, who described Vine as a reassuring figure in her life.

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“I started working on projects [at the AAF] and then eventually I joined the presenting team for that year’s National Student Advertising Competition, which I’ve never done anything like before, so I was super nervous,” Smith said. “[Cory] would be the guy to kind of take me aside when we were practicing and just take me through deep breathing [exercises].

“So really, his coaching capacity was the first bite-size I got of him, but right away, you could tell he just really cared about people,” Smith said. “Like, he could see what was going on with me, as little as he knew me, and just kind of be like, ‘Hey, Hannah, it’s good. Are you feeling good? Like, are you okay?’”

Throughout his work at AAF and the Saluki AdLab, a student marketing team which he co-founded with fellow student Ryan McCarthy, Vine consistently demonstrated a willingness and work attitude that those around him were quick to notice. McCarthy himself recalled several fond memories of his time working with Vine.

“One of my favorite memories together was on Halloween 2019, when we had an assignment to document the Carbondale Halloween experience,” McCarthy said. “Cory, myself, and two other students […] spent the night immediately editing the footage into clips for the sponsors to attain in the morning. At the time it felt like we were the only students that weren’t out, enjoying the weekend on the town, but I wouldn’t trade that night of frantic editing and old-computer hardware crashes for anything.”

Smith recounted an experience with Vine when they were in the process of filming a promotional video for the Rotary Club of Carbondale. The goal of the video was to promote the club’s upcoming Pumpkin Race, but they ran into an issue when their intended filming location ended up being significantly noisier than they were expecting.

“The trooper that he was, he was like, ‘It’s no big deal […] We’ll shoot in my backyard. I’ll make sure everything’s good,’” Smith said. “He got it done, and the client loved it and it was great. So, you know, he was somebody who could work really well under pressure because he never panicked.”

Vine’s mother, Carrie Vine, described how, as an eldest child, Cory Vine would always look out for his younger siblings Cal and Connor Vine.

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“He was always a very compassionate person,” Carrie Vine said. “That’s one of his traits that I always appreciated. When he was nine, when his little sister (Cal) was born, […] I was in grad school and I was working full time.”

“I mean, Cory took care of Cal just as much as I did,” Carrie Vine said. “You know, [he would] pick her up from after school care and taking the violin lessons and taking piano lessons […] They had a really close relationship. […] Cory was always just a really good big brother and very caring and very giving.”

In his last few months of life, Cory and his family had the opportunity to take a trip down to the Gulf of Mexico for one last family outing, Carrie Vine said. It was Cory Vine’s first time seeing the ocean, and it cemented a long lasting final memory for the rest of the Vine family.

Looking back on Vine’s life, Ryan McCarthy said that he intends to remember and carry Cory Vine forward with him.

“It still doesn’t feel right to refer to Cory in the past tense,” McCarthy said. “Both because he is gone far too soon from this earth, but also because I know his presence, attitude, and positivity remain with me for the rest of my life. He’s the absolute best of us and I’ll carry him with me from here on out.”

Carrie Vine holds that the best she can do is to continue speaking about Cory and keeping his memory alive.

“I like to talk about him and tell people about him because I feel like, the more I share about him, the more people will remember him and the longer he’ll live on,” Carrie said.

In the wake of his passing, friends and family of Cory Vine gathered together to fundraise for a memorial at SIU. The fundraiser is ongoing, with an ultimate goal of $25,000 to establish either a physical on-campus memorial or a scholarship in Cory’s name. Smith described the memorial as an effort to inspire other students with the same energy that Cory seemingly always embodied.

“[Cory] went out of his way to help students when he was [at SIU],” Hannah said, “So I just feel like it’s something that should be done in his memory, […] to put something in place that can keep helping students be creative and follow their passions.”

Staff reporter Ethan Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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