Monson believes that to be a true leader, you have to think globally.

Kristen Monson Supports Global Leaders of Tomorrow

February 08, 2024 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

In today’s global economy, the business world is interconnected. Even if an organization is local, it employs people from all over the world and they interact with consumers and partners from varying backgrounds.

This reality means business leaders need to be culturally aware and have a strong global perspective. At the Paul Merage School of Business, The Center for Global Leadership, led by Professor Eric Spangenberg, is at the forefront of providing an international education, ensuring that students gain a borderless knowledge of the business world.

In 2019, Professor Spangenberg established the Spangenberg Scholars for Global Leadership Endowment, which provides undergraduate students opportunities to travel the world, helping them develop their skills to function professionally in both national and international markets.

Merage School alum, Kristen Monson ’82, MBA ’86 is an avid supporter of the endowment and Professor Spangenberg’s vision to create a more culturally aware student body. Over the last decade, Monson has pledged more than $3 million to a variety of initiatives at the Merage School.

“Kristen Monson's remarkable, ongoing support of the Spangenberg Scholars for Global Leadership Endowment is a testament to her belief that part of the Merage School’s responsibility is to provide students the opportunity to develop understanding and appreciation for the interconnected complexities of the global business environment,” Spangenberg said.

Informed by her experience as an Executive Vice President of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), Monson believes it is important for future business leaders to gain knowledge of the global economy. Her support of the Center is driven by her desire to provide opportunities for students to learn about the international community firsthand and immerse themselves in different professional cultures.

“This program gives students who have not traveled the chance to have that first initial interaction with other non-U.S. students and the first exposure to see how companies outside the U.S. operate,” she said.

In addition to donating, Monson has also spoken with students on campus, providing critical guidance on traveling, customs, and global careers. A renowned business leader in the community, Monson’s advice is crucial for students to hear. During her tenure at PIMCO, she helped grow the firm from one Newport Beach location to a global firm with offices worldwide and assets under management from $11 billion to $2 trillion when she retired.

“Her investment underscores the transformative power of developing international understanding. Kristen's dedication is inspiring, and we invite others to join us in this critical mission of providing international experience and perspective to the next generation of global leaders,” said Spangenberg.

Alumni, friends, and community members can join Professor Spangenberg and Monson’s efforts to create lifechanging experiences for students. The endowment is open to gifts of all sizes that will collectively support these aspiring innovators. Every $3,000 raised sponsors one student’s trip abroad, so the larger the endowment fund, the more students can benefit from this amazing program.

“Supporting this program allows me the opportunity to give back and provide students the benefits of understanding diversity of culture, language and business methods across the world,” she said. “I think to be a true leader, you have to be thinking globally.”

If you are interested in making a gift of any size to the Spangenberg Scholars for Global Leadership Endowed Fund, or have any questions about ways to contribute, please reach out to the Paul Merage School of Business Director of Development, Kevin Crabb at  You can also visit this link to give directly:


*Your gift to the Spangenberg Scholars for Global Leadership Endowment may be tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor.