Group photo of Corp employees wearing Corp T-shirts on Healy steps
Category: Student Experience

Title: The Corp Celebrates 50 Years of Service to Students, Leadership Development

The Corp Logo with the text "The Corp's 50th Anniversary at Georgetown"

Celebrating Corp 50

On March 6, the Students of Georgetown Inc., commonly known as “The Corp,” will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its official incorporation in 1972.

To honor the milestone, more than 450 alumni of the student-run business returned to the Hilltop for a weekend of celebration and service, the largest reunion in The Corp’s history.

“We tried really intentionally to draw a direct link between our history and Georgetown’s history,” says Matt Davis (SFS’22), The Corp’s president and CEO. “It’s not just a celebration for Corp employees or Corp alumni — this is a celebration for all of Georgetown.”

The reunion has been several years in the making, spanning multiple student leadership terms and functions across The Corp’s management teams. True to The Corp’s ethos, the events were entirely planned and executed by undergraduate students.

“Students, from first-years to seniors, in The Corp have volunteered to help develop and execute Corp 50 events,” says Harper Thomas (SFS’22), chair of The Corp’s Board of Directors. “Additionally, we have been in regular contact with university officials over the past year on topics ranging from COVID-19 safety to library exhibits and event planning. It has truly been a team effort.”

The weekend’s events included volunteer and fundraising opportunities, a commemorative exhibit at Lauinger Library and formal events in Georgetown’s historic Riggs Library and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Ticket sales for the alumni awards ceremony raised more than $1,300 for Martha’s Table — a DC-based nonprofit supporting education, health and wellness, families and community investments — reflecting an evolution of The Corp’s mission to serve not just students on campus but the greater DC community.

“With the formation of The Corp fifty years ago, you opened up new possibilities for us as a university community,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia in his celebratory remarks at the SAAM. “We are not the same place we were fifty years ago, and The Corp has grown alongside the university as the needs of its students and our campuses have changed.”

Group of students in front of a large branded Corp photo background
More than 30 students from across The Corp’s leadership teams and volunteers from within the Corp served on The Corp 50 Committee to plan the celebration over the past year. Here members of the committee celebrate at the SAAM.

The weekend activities were complemented by a week of programming leading up to the reunion. The Corp hosted an open mic night and partnered with their vendors to hand out free Coca Cola, Compass coffee, Yerba Mate and Liquid Death Mountain Water to students throughout the week.

“We wanted to celebrate The Corp not only with our alumni but also the student community,” says Adam Shaham (SFS’22), The Corp’s advancement chair responsible for alumni relations and many of the celebration’s logistics. “The Corp’s mission is ‘students serving students.’ The whole reason it was formed was to better serve the Georgetown community, so it was really important to us that we got to give back to Georgetown.”

Alumni Connections

Reconnecting with alumni was a key goal for the weekend, though alumni engagement is embedded into The Corp’s management through the Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC).

“The board’s conversations with the AAC on topics ranging from reopening to DEI and business expansion have been crucial for many of our decisions over the past year,” says Thomas.

Young man in a gray sweater with red shirt underneath at a desk
Bennie Smith (C’86) received the Heart of The Corp Award for his embodiment of The Corp and Georgetown’s values. Ann Beth Stebbins (C’86, L‘91) received the President’s Award, which is awarded to Corp alumni who provide exceptional professional, financial or experiential support to Corp leadership.

Corp alumni also serve as a network for current employees looking to make professional and personal connections. As part of the anniversary celebration, The Corp hosted an industry panel for students interested in careers in law — the most recent in a series of events intended to help current Georgetown students connect with recent graduates for tips to start their careers.

“Alumni serve as mentors to current Corp students and give them advice on everything from getting a job to moving to a new place and life beyond the Hilltop,” says Shaham. “They are very proactive in engaging current Corp employees around their jobs, around the job market, about sending in internships and job opportunities.”

Developing Young Leaders

Because each Corp employee — from the cashiers and baristas to the C-suite and Board of Directors — is an undergraduate student, The Corp offers Georgetown students a firsthand view of running a million-dollar business.

“Leading The Corp has been an incredible opportunity for me to develop my skills and deepen my understanding of how I operate as a leader and team player,” says Thomas. “The Corp has really instilled a deep appreciation of mission and impact-driven work, and that is definitely something I am going to prioritize in my career going forward.”

“The opportunity to be a leader of your peers has been really challenging but incredibly rewarding,” adds Davis. “And I think I have become a better person through my interactions with all the other Corp employees.”

We asked some recent Corp alumni how they apply their learnings from The Corp to their work today.

The Next 50 Years

Initially founded in the wake of May Day protests against the Vietnam War before beginning to sell just Coca Cola and yogurt, The Corp has grown significantly — now with nearly 330 undergraduate employees across eight retail operations and four internal departments.

“The Corp has evolved numerous times over the past 50 years, but our fundamental commitment to ‘students serving students’ has never wavered,” says Thomas.

While the core mission of The Corp remains steadfast, Davis says he cannot predict what the next 50 years might hold — though he is sure The Corp’s operations will continue to evolve with Georgetown and its students.

“You don’t know what it’s gonna look like in 50 years, and that’s a good thing,” says Davis. “We look so different than we did 50 years ago because the student needs are incredibly different than they were in 1972. So in 2072, I hope it looks so, so different than it does now because I want it to be reflective of Georgetown in that time.”

Old photo of everyone in The Corp