Q&A with Terry and Brian Modoff

Brian and Terry Modoff

Like many parents, Terry and Brian Modoff know the critical role that support and community play in the collegiate journey. As parents of two SMU alumni and a current sophomore, the Modoffs were recently named as co-chairs of the Parent Leadership Council, which is comprised of dedicated parent donors and volunteers. Through their service, the Modoffs support and further the leadership council’s mission to “strengthen ties between the University and parents of current SMU students while increasing gifts to the SMU Parent Fund.”

Your relationship to the University originated when your two oldest children were undergraduates. How has your relationship with SMU evolved over the years?

Terry: When Francesca and Austin decided to attend SMU, we were thrilled to see how deeply the University cares for its students, their families and their potential. We wanted to become members of the Mustang community and work with fellow parents to support students at every stage of their academic and professional careers. Now that William is a sophomore, we are honored to be leading the Parent Leadership Council.

How would you describe the work of the Parent Leadership Council?

 Summer Send-Off 

Brian: Our members support the fundraising and engagement efforts for SMU parents. We champion meaningful connections to SMU, from contacting prospective new Mustangs and their parents to hosting Summer Send-Off parties across the country. We also encourage parents to financially support the campus experiences, academic programs, need-based scholarships and research opportunities that benefit every student on the Hilltop.

Can you speak more about the ways parents can get involved with the University?


Terry: We have loved attending athletic events as well as other SMU activities that connect us to the greater Mustang community, and we encourage other parents to do the same. Many parents choose to serve on committees, councils or advisory boards across the University. Some parents elect to help students with an occasional resume review, mock interview or simply provide other career-boosting assistance. It’s also incredibly helpful when parents can work with their business to offer internship opportunities and to share news about job openings. (Plus, you also get the extra benefit of getting to work with the outstanding young people enrolled at SMU!)

You mentioned giving as a key area of focus for the Parent Leadership Council. What kind of impact do parents make as donors?

Brian: Parent philanthropy has always been strong at SMU. The parent community is in a unique position when it comes to giving, though, since most of us are already supporting our own students. However, since tuition only covers about 70% of each student’s experience, we realize that parents, alumni and friends are instrumental in bridging that gap. And as parents, we’re particularly invested in making sure our students’ experience – and those of their fellow classmates – is the best it can be. So, parent donors fund scholarships, campus activities and other things that our students and their peers directly benefit from. And when we support initiatives like SMU Giving Day, our small gifts add up to collectively impact hundreds of SMU programs that our students care most about.

Family weekend What advice would you give parents of incoming students or parents wishing to become parent donors?

Terry: Get involved early and stay involved. Read the SMU newsletters and magazines. Join your fellow parents in Boulevarding before football games, attend Family Weekend and any events happening in your area. The more connected you are, the more invested you will become in this great institution, and the most passionate you’ll be about supporting everything that happens on the Hilltop. Giving at every level makes a difference, whether you make a $25 gift on SMU Giving Day to support a student group or make a major commitment and become one of our Rotunda Families, the University’s leading family donors. Every parent has an opportunity to strengthen what makes SMU great and extend the University’s impact throughout the country and around the world.