Editorial: A tribute to Xan

Xan Korman, former Collegian photo editor and rising Butler junior. Photo courtesy of @xankorman on Instagram.

To our fellow Butler community members,

With deep sadness, we report Xan Korman, former photo editor of The Butler Collegian and rising junior at Butler University, passed away on Aug. 19 after sustaining injuries in a drive-by shooting. Xan died in his home state of Maryland. 

Xan worked for The Butler Collegian over the past two years and contributed many amazing photographs that added to our journalism. He worked closely with the Butler Men’s Basketball team, used his photography and videography skills to capture key moments for the players and planned to be a team manager this upcoming year. Beyond his passion for sports and photography, he was a great friend and an exceptional person.

The Butler Collegian mourns the loss of Xan as fellow bulldogs, co-workers and friends. The newsroom will not be the same without him, and so we would like to use our platform to pay tribute to Xan. 

The following quotes are from staff members and friends who wished to share their memories of Xan and thoughts on his passing. 

Chuck Harris, Men’s Basketball Player:

“Last year it was honestly wherever you went it was Chuck and Xan. I was always with him; I always did everything with him. Xan was just the most selfless kindhearted person. Always wanted to see others win just completely, I don’t even know a word for it, he was just my best friend honestly, that’s the only way I can put it, just always there when you needed to talk, always provide you with something when you need it.

[What] I got from the whole situation honestly, just stay blessed and be happy and live in the moment, because even the kid who didn’t deserve it at all wasn’t even worthy of getting something like that to happen to him. It can be his day and then it’s all over. I’m gonna live my life through him. We had many conversations about our dreams and aspirations that we talked about. I’ma just have them in the back of my mind when I’m working to get there.”

Julian Cirnigliaro, Photo Editor:

“I had Xan as a photo editor and friend last year. His eagerness to cover conflict and change during the BLM movements throughout 2020 produced what I believe was some of his best work. My fondest memory of Xan is from November of last year, where we had both gone to cover the Dreasjon Reed protests in downtown Indianapolis. There was a point when protest organizers began handing out earplugs because they’d seen a long range acoustic device, and the feeling of unease, but excitement as we jogged down the street with all our camera gear in the rain is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. We talked about goals and hobbies besides photography on the walk back to the car, and he seemed pretty optimistic about his sports shooting and portraiture. People with the amount of passion that Xan had don’t come around that often, and seeing him go is painful to say the least.”

Kobe Mosley, Co-Sports Editor:

“I met Xan for the first time during a floor meeting in ResCo. We both lived in the B-wing, our first conversation sparking from our shared unhappiness that we had to duck our heads just in the shower. From then on we would see each other in passing, say hi or what’s up. He was always with former Butler men’s basketball player Khalif Battle, so it took me a while to realize he wasn’t a player too. 

It didn’t take long for me to see how gifted a photographer he was. I can remember multiple times when I would go to the common area on the second floor of Resco and see Xan sitting there, editing photos and videos. He was relentless, a perfectionist when it came to the quality of his craft. I respected that early on, and it made me proud to see him this past summer when his hard work was paying off. 

We’ll never get to see how far Xan could’ve gone with his passion, but we can already begin to see the effect he had on us taking form. I for one know that I am a better person for knowing Xan. He has and will continue to inspire me to never put off greatness until tomorrow and do what makes me happy. He lived by those words, and I hope that we can all pick up where he left off and keep his spirit alive. Rest in peace, my friend. You will truly be missed.”

Donald Crocker, 2020-21 Assistant Sports Editor:

“When I came to Butler, I didn’t know much about photoshop or editing photos. I usually just left them unedited. Maybe the second time I posted pictures of Butler athletes, I tried a different editing style and they came out tinted yellow. Xan messaged me soon after giving me some tips on how to change some of the settings and how to edit the pictures better. I played it off like I knew what I was doing but honestly, I barely knew anything. I barely knew Xan. Regardless, he went out of his way to help me out. I said to myself: ‘Ok I got to do better.’ I didn’t know it then, but that would be the first of many times Xan inspired me to improve as a creator. That’s just the type of effect Xan had. If you stayed around him long enough, his persistent drive to grow would rub off on you. Although he is no longer with us, he left an everlasting impact on me and so many others. Though the days ahead may be hard, I will always be able to look back on memories like these and smile.”

Ryan Lane, Butler Men’s Basketball Creative Assistant: 

“Nicest kid I have ever met in my whole life. Hardest worker I have ever met in my whole life. I don’t think I had ever saw that kid without a smile on his face, ever. I don’t think I ever saw him not carrying his camera around. He was just always trying to make people happy, make people smile. I mean, if a basketball player texted him at two in the morning and said ‘I’m going to Hinkle to get shots up, do you want to come take pics?,’ he was there. If someone asked him any time of the day ‘hey can you do this for me,’ whatever it is, he would always do it. Just the most selfless kid I think I have ever met in my whole life.

My favorite moments with Xan is just him coming over to my room or me going over to his room and we would just sit there and work for hours and hours and talk about sports, talk about work, talk about random stuff. I remember when he first wanted to get into graphic design and branch out from photography and work on graphic design he came and just watched me design for like two hours probably and there were times when we would go like 30 to 40 minutes not even saying a word to each other. He would just watch and just learn and just try and get better.”

Myles Wilmoth, Men’s Basketball Player:

“Xan was one of the most selfless people I knew. He would always go out his way to look out for me or any of the freshmen last year. Xan and I spent a lot of time last school year, and it is impossible to count how many times he has gone out of his way to do something nice for me. Xan became a brother to me, and I will remember him for his selflessness first, and I will always try to show love the way he did. Xan also was extremely talented and put so much time into his craft with photography and videography. He had his own gear, and I wish I had bought some or could still buy some so that I could rep XanShotYou. Xan will be missed, but he knows how much I appreciated him and I loved him.”

Jair Bolden, Men’s Basketball Player:

“Xan was one of the most genuine guys in the program and was always showing support and love through the good and bad games. His role as a photographer was more than just taking pictures for us, it was a way to instill confidence and pride in what we were doing and he knew that. His messages were never just the great pictures or videos he took, they were words of encouragement and love. He always showed love and his positivity has inspired me to try and be what he was for us to others.”

Francie Wilson, Digital Managing Editor:

“I learned so much from working with Xan on the Collegian. While we only worked together for a year, Xan taught me lessons I will take throughout life. Xan always led by example, fully dedicating himself to his passions, no matter how much sleep he lost. Xan taught me that you can be confident without being cocky, never once making me feel like my work, while nowhere near the caliber of his, was any less valued.

What I will remember most about Xan, however, was his ability to talk to anyone. Xan always told me no matter who the subject of his photos was, he saw them as a person. Xan wanted to know what athletes were like on and off the court, it didn’t matter if they were one of the best collegiate women’s basketball players. Whether it was highlighting their athletic achievement, speaking out against injustice, or showing off their unique style, Xan validated and encouraged others to pursue their dreams. Not only creating breathtaking images but learning from everyone around him.  

My heart goes out to Xan’s family and friends. For as much of an amazing photographer Xan was, he was an even more remarkable person. I am thankful to have worked with Xan and will miss him.”  

Omar Lowery, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach:

“Xan was a talented young creative with so much more to share with the world but even more, he was an incredible person. He should still be here today. He made anyone he encountered feel seen and heard.

My hope and prayer is that his life and work inspires others in their craft and that our community keeps his legacy alive in the ways we love one another. He will forever be a part of our family. 

Fly high and rest in love, Xan.”

Emma Beavins, Managing Editor: 

“Xan and I worked together on the Collegian editorial board during the 2020-2021 school year. When my co-editor, Abby Pluff, and I first met Xan, he was very quiet — so naturally, we made it our mission to talk to him as much as possible. Every week he would walk into the room humbly with his head down but give Abby and I a huge smile as soon as we said hi. 

Xan never failed to ask us how we were doing and genuinely listen to our answers. He was never distracted or rushing to do the next task. He gave us his full attention and always added an unsuspecting joke to our conversations. 

Xan was quiet, yet persistently dedicated to his craft. The night the verdict of the Dreasjon Reed case was announced was a publishing night, and I wrote the news story to announce the decision by the Indiana Grand Jury. While I was in the Collegian office writing, Xan attended protests downtown and captured the emotions of the Indianapolis community. He stayed up with me until 3 a.m. to find the perfect photo to accompany the story, and I got the privilege to see the wealth of photographs he took from the protest. They were the best photographs I had ever seen: expressive, tangible and full of raw emotion. 

The first time I met Xan, he took my photo for the editorial board outside of Jordan Hall. Portraits are intimidating, but Xan made me feel relaxed and natural — almost as if he and his camera were simply observing the world rather than poignantly capturing it. We walked back into the building together and realized that we shared a birthday that had just passed, September 13th. Throughout the year, I looked forward to our next shared birthday, his 21st and my 22nd, excited to wish him well now that our friendship was a year older. 

So: happy early birthday, Xan.”

Meghan Stratton, 2020-21 Editor-in-Chief:

“When I called Xan last summer to offer him the photography editor position, I could hear his excitement through the phone. He was so passionate about his craft and that translated into being a phenomenal member of the 2020-21 Collegian editorial board. Xan inspired people to think outside the box and experiment, and would always go out of his way to help a fellow staff member. I am certain his memory will live on through his photos and the impact he had on the entire Butler community.”

Ellie Allen, Editor-in-Chief:

“Xan and I worked on the editorial board for the Collegian last year, and I will always remember him as being extremely dedicated and creative. He was always willing to jump in and help get any photos we needed. When there weren’t enough photographers to get all the photos, he would take them. That’s the kind of person he was: always putting others before himself. You could always tell which photos were Xan’s because they had a unique way of stopping time and grabbing your attention. His loss will be felt tremendously in the newsroom.”

Henry Bredemeier, Managing Editor:

“I only knew Xan for a short time after I joined the editorial staff in January. Between meetings, I remember talking to him about March Madness and the NBA, and I could tell how much knowledge and passion he had about basketball, from high school to the pros. That knowledge was reflected in his amazing photography; he had a knack for knowing where to be on the sidelines to get the best shots. I would always see him running around to different places around the court because he always knew where the action would be. He was a phenomenal photographer and an even better person. Rest in peace Xan, you will be missed.”

If you would like to honor Xan, go to @xanshotyou on Instagram and follow the GoFundMe link in the bio. Donations “will assist in funeral costs” and “any additional money will go towards a scholarship in honor of Xan.” 

Students looking for assistance throughout the grieving process are encouraged to reach out to the resources below: 

Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) 

317-940-9385 kmagnus@butler.edu

Center for Faith and Vocation

317-940-8253 dgmeyers@butler.edu

After Hours Emergency Assistance

St. Vincent’s Stress Center

317-338-4800 (24-hour line)

 Community Health

317-621-5700 (24-hour line)

or text HelpNow to 20121

 

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