Cal State Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach Company launch new scholars program

From left: David Stivers, Vanya Quinones, Marylou Shockley and Paige Viren celebrate the PBC Scholars Program

From left, Pebble Beach Company CEO David Stivers, CSUMB President Vanya QuiƱones, College of Business Interim Dean Marylou Shockley and Sustainable Hospitality Management Executive Director Paige Viren celebrate the signing of the Pebble Beach Scholars agreement. | Photo by Brent Dundore-Arias

January 12, 2024

By Mark Muckenfuss

The air was chilly, but the feelings were warm as officials with Cal State Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach Company signed a groundbreaking agreement on Thursday, Jan. 11. It is designed to strengthen the education and training of students in CSUMB’s Sustainable Hospitality Management program, setting them on a path toward employment in the upper echelons of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Speaking at the event, CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones said the program is a first for the campus. 

“The Pebble Beach Scholars program is unique in that it combines an annual scholarship and internship opportunities, and includes bridge housing as well as the potential for employment in the region upon graduation,” Quiñones said, noting that there could hardly be a better partner. “When you think about Monterey Bay, you think about Pebble Beach. I think it’s a blessing that our first partners are the Pebble Beach Company.”

The $1.4 million cooperative venture will provide students with up to $5,000 per year for tuition, books and other educational costs for up to four years, and continued campus housing during academic breaks. Concurrent with their classroom studies, they will spend time as interns at Pebble Beach, learning from top industry experts at one of the most prestigious resorts in the world and receiving help with job placement after graduation. The first eight-student cohort will begin the program this fall.

The new agreement builds on a longstanding partnership established by John Avella, former executive director of the Sustainable Hospitality Management program, and Beat Giger, then director of special events for Pebble Beach Company, to provide student internships. That relationship has allowed students to participate in such world-renowned events as golf’s U.S. Men’s and Women’s Opens and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and the Concours d’Elegance. 

“With the scholars program, we will continue to grow our partnership with Pebble Beach and ensure that our students have opportunities to stay in the region upon graduation,” Quiñones said, likening the latest step to putting a new story on an existing building foundation. 

She said it also addresses one of the university’s major goals of providing students, particularly first-generation college goers, with a path toward greater success.

“This program will help us to move our students toward upward mobility,” she said before turning to directly address David Stivers, CEO of Pebble Beach Company. “You’re helping us to help our students find their own strength.”

Stivers said the new agreement represents continued growth in the relationship between Pebble Beach Company and the university. 

“The commitment of our employees and the special service they provide is what makes Pebble Beach Resorts a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our guests.” Stivers said in an earlier statement. “CSUMB graduates already fill many important roles in the Company, and this program will build on our strong connection with CSUMB. We look forward to supporting these scholars and welcoming them to the Pebble Beach Company family as they embark on their studies and grow in their careers.”

Speaking during the ceremony, Interim Dean for the College of Business Marylou Shockley said the agreement is part of ongoing efforts to make the education students receive translate into gainful employment. 

“We need to find these jobs with these world-class organizations,” Shockley said. “The scholars program is going to allow these students to gain experience at a first-class company. It couldn’t get any better.”

Professor Paige Viren, who is executive director of the SHM program, said students are getting something few universities can offer. 

“Working with Pebble Beach Company is a unique and distinguished privilege for our program,” Viren said. “Our students have the extraordinary chance to acquire practical experience with a trailblazing organization that sets the benchmark for others to follow.

“Since 2019, over 60 students have participated in the Special Events Management Team internship,” she added, “with numerous individuals subsequently joining the Pebble Beach Team Leader Program and progressing into managerial roles at Pebble Beach Company.”

She said she hopes the new program will inspire similar scholar programs across the campus.

“I am confident that our success will serve as an inspiring example,” she said, “paving the way for additional partnerships.”

Quiñones said she welcomes the opportunity to partner with more companies, businesses and agencies in the region to build scholars programs in many disciplines with a goal of having at least 10% of Cal State Monterey Bay students engaged in similar programs in the future.