MetLife investment executive and 1980 graduate to receive honorary doctorate
Steven Goulart ’80 is no stranger to awards and accolades, having received many over his career as one of the world’s foremost leaders in finance.
However, when he fielded an unexpected phone call from Pacific President Christopher Callahan this summer, Goulart humbly recalled, “To be honest, I was totally surprised, shocked, speechless and obviously flattered.”
Goulart was chosen to receive an honorary doctoral degree from University of the Pacific, recognizing his transformative impact on the financial industry, the university and thousands of students’ lives. The degree is one of the highest honors the university bestows.
Goulart retired in August as executive vice president and chief investment officer of MetLife Inc., one of the world’s leading financial services companies. He worked at MetLife for more than 17 years, and as executive vice president oversaw nearly $600 billion in total assets under management in more than 40 markets globally.
"Steve is an example of someone whose Pacific education prepared him to make a lasting difference, to his profession and to his community." - Board of Regents Chair Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt
Goulart led the development and launch, and served as president, of MetLife Investment Management, which was named a Best Place to Work in Money Management in 2021 and 2022. The programs and workplace culture he shaped are now being replicated worldwide. He also served on the board of directors for the MetLife Foundation, which has pledged over $1 billion in support of economic inclusion and financial health for underserved communities.
Prior to MetLife, Goulart held leadership roles at Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. He completed his MBA at Harvard Business School. In 2019, the Pacific Alumni Association recognized him with its Distinguished Professional Service Award.
In recommending him for the honorary degree, President Callahan praised Goulart for sustaining an impactful commitment to Pacific alongside his professional obligations.
“Steve has one of the most demanding finance jobs in the world, and for the past four decades, he has continuously made time to support his alma mater through board leadership, guest speaking engagements with students, philanthropy and more,” Callahan said. “We are fortunate to have him as a devoted alumnus and friend of Pacific.”
A Stockton native and graduate of Lincoln High School, Goulart came to Pacific on a football scholarship. He played for the Tigers for four years, earning All-American Honorable Mention honors in 1979. He was inducted into the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
He was also a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and met his future wife, Kristy (Courtland) Goulart ‘79, when she visited an acquaintance at the fraternity house and Steve answered the door. Kristy Goulart earned a behavioral psychology degree and two teaching credentials from Pacific. The couple celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary in September.
Steve Goulart served on Pacific’s Board of Regents from 2001 to 2010. He helped lead the university’s Investing in Excellence campaign and oversaw the creation of the Eberhardt Student Investment Fund, which allows business students to manage a real investment portfolio.
"Steve is an example of someone whose Pacific education prepared him to make a lasting difference, to his profession and to his community," said Board of Regents Chair Mary-Elizabeth Eberhardt ’76. "He is exactly the type of leader we want engaging actively with the university and inspiring our students."
Now based in New Jersey, Goulart enjoys hosting Pacific leaders and Student Investment Fund participants who visit Wall Street annually. He has kept in contact with many students and alumni as a mentor.
“One of the things we can all share is our experiences, giving students some advice along the way. Kristy and I both value the opportunity to do that when it arises,” Goulart said.
The Goularts fund an endowed scholarship at Pacific for participants in the PROMISE Scholars program, which supports foster youth and temporarily homeless students. This decision was personal: the couple are former foster parents, a grandchild was adopted from foster care and Kristy has worked as a court-appointed special advocate for foster youth.
“One becomes successful when they have other adults in their life to help advocate for them,” Kristy Goulart said. “We want to help students become successful adults, instead of continuing in the same trajectory that they grew up in.”
The couple also established the Kristy Goulart Book Buddies Endowment, enabling Benerd College students to facilitate literacy programs for Stockton families, and are generous supporters of Pacific Athletics and the Eberhardt School of Business.
Goulart serves on the boards of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships for underserved New Jersey children at independent schools, and the Augustine Institute, a Catholic graduate school and educational organization. He credits his faith as a critical driver of his success.
“We have been blessed in many ways and are pleased to be able to share the fruits of those blessings. Pacific provided us with the opportunity to get a great education, and more importantly, the place where we met,” Goulart said. “We always felt strongly that this was an important place in our lives, and we wanted to recognize it.”
Goulart will receive his honorary degree at Commencement on Saturday, May 11, 2024.
“Steve has experienced firsthand how philanthropy changes students’ lives, and that drives him to make a life-changing impact for others,” said Scott Biedermann ‘05, ‘20, Pacific’s vice president for development and alumni relations. “Steve and Kristy are deeply passionate about education, and I'm grateful that they express that passion consistently through their generosity to our students.”