Island University Teams Up with Alumni-Owned Coffee Business

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – For many college students, coffee is an essential supply to power through the day. It’s the drink that fuels a frenzied morning, steadies a hectic afternoon, and sustains an all-nighter. Coffee connoisseurs can now enjoy ethically sourced, specialty brews at the Island University, while also supporting an alumna-owned business, thanks to a new partnership between Islander Dining (operated by Chartwells Higher Education) and Driftwood Coffee Company.

Driftwood Coffee Co. began as a hobby and has since flourished into a thriving coffee roastery and tasting room under the leadership of Randi Carroll ’09 and her husband Steven. The Carrolls started the Corpus Christi-based business in 2013 after returning from a yearlong Christian mission trip to Kazakhstan. The business has a storefront on Alameda St. in Meadowbrook Plaza.

“Our coffee roastery grew out of a love for our community and for ethically sourced coffee,” Randi Carroll said. “We also realized this business could be a great way to stay connected internationally and support programs that are doing good in developing countries.”

According to Carroll, a first-generation college student who majored in studio art, her time at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi helped her gain the skills she would need as a small business owner, such as communication, time management, and confidence.

“TAMU-CC had the kind of vibe that facilitated and encouraged exploration,” Carroll said. “I fell in love with the campus and the faculty. I felt celebrated for following my heart.”

Carroll said the support of her professors and peers helped her find her creative voice and entrepreneurial spirit.

I want students to know that there are so many ways to serve and grow and be successful in Corpus Christi. Staying here after graduation and using the skills they acquired within this community can be fulfilling and beautiful.

Randi Carroll '09

“My professors balanced this beautiful tension of believing in me and also inspiring me to push deeper into my creative process,” she said. “This new partnership with TAMU-CC has allowed me to give back to the space and people who supported me in a season of my life where exploring my dreams and how they intersected with reality was most pivotal.”

Carroll says that providing students with flavor through a sustainable local product is an aspiration actualized. Carroll hopes her product will inspire Islander students to give back to her hometown of Corpus Christi.

“I want students to know that there are so many ways to serve and grow and be successful in Corpus Christi. Staying here after graduation and using the skills,” they acquired within this community can be fulfilling and beautiful,” Carroll said. “The opportunity is here. This city needs the incredible skills they possess to see new ventures explored and developed and old systems revamped and reimagined.”

Driftwood coffee is now served at the campus market located in the O’Connor Building and at Hemispheres Café in Island Hall. It is also exclusively served at events catered by Islander Dining. The brew comes in a variety of roasts, including light, dark, and decaffeinated, along with a signature medium blend only offered on the island.

“Serving our coffee on campus and creating a custom blend just for Islanders is a dream come true,” Carroll said. “It took our coffee to another level of being able to connect with students where they live, study, and grow. I hope our product helps Islanders have meaningful conversations that lead them to their purpose and their joy.”

For Emily Delaune ’25, a first-year Islander studying communication, the relationship that Islander Dining has formed with Driftwood Coffee Co. makes her decision to choose their coffee over corporate-owned competitors an easy one to make.

“I want to spend my money on a good cause with a local tie,” Delaune said. “I’ve never heard of an alumna-owned business on campus, so I think it’s really cool that she has the opportunity to give back to her alma mater.”