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  • “I think I speak for all of us when I say we will do everything in our power to make a difference and add to the incredible Foundation you created. Thank you for your selflessness. I am forever grateful…” - Leah Bruce-Gonzales 2014 UTSA
  • “Mr. Terry began a ripple effect that is subject to infinite growth.” - Justin Yonker 2010 TX State
  • “I know I have a lot of potential and I am surrounded by people who believe in me.”  -Mashhood Ghassemi, 2009 UTD
  • “It is with extreme pride that I tell others I am a Terry Scholar.”  -Ashley Williams, 2008 TAMU
  • “Thank you, Terry Foundation, for another great year.”  -Julie Huynh, 2008 UT-Austin
  • “I am very pleased to be a part of such a great organization and I want to be more involved.”  - Geoffrey Eppler  2014 UofH
  • “Lastly, as always, I would like to thank the Terry Foundation for providing a family that was a perfect fit to my life. Thank you for not only the financial support but giving me people that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I found one of my best friends through the Foundation and was given the chance to find my career passion of working with special needs children in speech therapy. Thank you.” – Theresa Hunter 2010 UNT
  • “With the incredible help from the Terry Foundation, I was able to complete my first year at Texas Tech University and also complete my junior year of my college career.” – Ana Vaquiz 2013 TTU
  • “I love my Terry family. I basically started school with 16 built in friends with whom I have grown very close to as I know that I can depend on them and count on them to be there for me. – Ishita Alam 2013 TWU

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The Terry Foundation is a Houston-based scholarship program founded to provide scholarships to outstanding Texas high school graduates and transfer scholars for attendance at public colleges and universities within the state. Established in 1986 by Houston philanthropists Howard & Nancy Terry, the Foundation has assisted thousands of Terry Scholars in meeting the Founders' goal of helping Texas college students to help themselves.

Check out our Calendar for all upcoming events.​

Native Texan Howard L. Terry was born in Milam County in 1916. He attended the University of Texas at Austin on an athletic scholarship and earned his B.B.A. in 1938. He was employed by Procter & Gamble until 1942, when he entered the U.S. Navy and served as a P.T. Boat commander in the Pacific during World War II. He later returned to Procter & Gamble, from which he was recruited to set up a chain of appliance stores, serving as General Manager until 1951. At that time, Mr. Terry went into business for himself in lumber, building, and development, building several residential subdivisions in Texas and other states.

Over the following years, Mr. Terry founded several businesses in various fields, including Business Funds, Marathon Manufacturing, Crutcher Resources, Allied Bancshares, and Farm & Home Savings. Beginning in 1979, he became a director and chairman of the executive committee of Penn Central Corp., a position he held until 1986. In 1981, he founded the Terry Companies, a multi-state corporation involved in oil & gas exploration and development.

Howard Terry’s long and successful life came to an end in 2012 at age 95. In keeping with his own prediction, he maintained regular office hours and was active in the management of the Foundation until the very end of his life. His life was celebrated at a memorial service in Houston attended by a crowd estimated at 1,000.

Nancy Terry was a native of New York State, born in Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence River. She attended the School of Nursing at the University of Rochester, New York, where her hobbies included snow skiing, ice skating, swimming and antique collecting.

She subsequently relocated to Texas and for over forty years was married to Howard L. Terry, with whom she founded the Terry Foundation in 1986.

Participating in Foundation activities for many years, Mrs. Terry passed away peacefully at home in October 2012 at age 85. She will always be remembered for her candid photos of the Scholars at Foundation events and for her life-long interest in the scholarship program that bears their name.

Despite a series of remarkable successes in business endeavors in many fields, Howard Terry often referred to the Terry Foundation as their finest achievement. The impact of their generosity and vision will be felt by young Texans and their families for generations to come.


A Message from Mr. Terry

Click on the link below to read about Mr. Terry's experience as Captain of a PT boat during WWII.


Rhett Campbell 2012 B&W
Rhett Campbell
Ed Cotham 2012 B&W
Ed Cotham
John Storms
John Storms
Robert Carter Overton B&W
Carter Overton
Yvonne Moody 2012 B&W
Yvonne Rode Moody
JD Davis 2012
J.D. Davis
Jeff Stichler 2012 B&W
Jeff Stichler
Gayle Stinson 2006 B&W
Gayle Stinson
Brian Yarbrough 2012 B&W
Brian Garrett Yarbrough
Elizabeth Keeler 2012 B&W
Elizabeth Riley Keeler
Director Emeritus
Darrell K Royal

Rhett Campbell served on the original Board of Directors of the Terry Foundation and worked closely with Howard and Nancy Terry in the management and direction of the Foundation since its inception in 1986. He was named Board Chair in 2000.

Rhett is of counsel with the Thompson & Knight law firm, where his areas of specialization include civil trial and business bankruptcy. He was a founding member in 1977 of the Houston law firm of Morris & Campbell, where he practiced until 2001. He holds both a B.A. (with high honors) and J.D. (with honors) from Southern Methodist University, where he was honored as a Hatton Sumners Scholar and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Order of the Coif, and Order of Barristers.

Rhett is married to Houston native Susie Seybold. They have three children, two grandchildren, and reside in Houston.

Ed Cotham serves as President of the Terry Foundation, where he manages the Foundation’s endowment portfolio and serves as chief operating officer of the Foundation. In 1993, he was named President of Terry Petroleum Company. Prior to joining Terry Petroleum, Ed practiced law with the Morris & Campbell law firm in Houston.

Ed holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Houston and a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. A native Texan, Ed returned to complete a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ed is a nationally recognized expert on Civil War history and has authored three books on military history. He and his wife, Candy, have one son and reside in Houston.

John Storms has served on the Foundation Board of Directors since its inception in 1986. John is the Managing General Partner of Storms & Critz, Certified Public Accountants, of Houston.  John also serves on the boards of other business entities. He is also an active member of the board of Child Advocates, Inc. of Houston and is currently an advisory board member of National CASA Association, the national oversight organization for over 900 such entities across the United States.

John is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a B.B.A. from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. in taxation from the City University of New York.

John and his wife, Charlene, reside in Houston and have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Carter Overton has served on the Foundation Board of Directors since its inception in 1986. Carter is the President of Overton Energy, LLC, a Houston-based management and investment company engaged in direct investment in US oil and gas exploration and production. He worked previously for Terry Petroleum Company, where he served as Vice President of Operations.  Carter is a past Chairman of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation and is actively involved in his community and the River Oaks Baptist Church.

A native Houstonian, Carter received both his B.B.A. and his M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Carter and his wife, Elaine, reside in Houston, and have six children.

Yvonne Rode Moody
was named as the Foundation’s first Executive Director in August of 2012. Originally, she was selected as one of the first 17 Terry Scholars as part of the inaugural class in 1987. She joined the Foundation Board of Directors in 2000, one of the first Alumni Scholars to be named to the Board.

A native of Fredericksburg, Yvonne received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M in 1991. Her professional experience includes working for Chevron as a Retail Construction Project Manager. Her volunteer interests include a variety of church, school and civic organizations, but her passion has always remained with the Terry Foundation and its growing number of Terry Scholars and Alumni.

Yvonne lives in Houston with her two daughters, Amber and Ashley.

J.D. Davis, FSA was named to the Foundation Board of Directors in 2000. He is the Managing Principal for the Southern U.S. Employee Benefits Practice of Milliman, where he is also an actuary and retirement consultant.

A native of Quitman, Texas, J.D. became a Terry Scholar in 1989.  He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993, where he received a B.A. in Economics (with highest honors).  He also holds a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University.

J.D. is also the author of a bestselling biography of Southern musicians and first cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley. He lives with his three daughters in Sunnyvale, Texas.

Jeff Stichler is a Principal in the Conroe ISD. He was named to the Foundation Board in 2006, one of two new Scholar Alumni members named to the Board that year.

A native of Fort Stockton, Texas, Jeff was named a Terry Scholar at Texas A&M in 1990, where he graduated in 1995 with a B.S. in Kinesiology and a minor in History. He holds a Masters of Education degree from Sam Houston State University and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from the University of Houston.

Prior to becoming a school administrator, Jeff taught advanced mathematics and coached for 11 years, seven years of which were at Conroe's Caney Creek High School, where he was named Teacher of the Year and District Swim Coach of the Year.

Jeff lives in Conroe with his wife, Melanie, and their two children.

Gayle Stinson was named to the Foundation Board in 2006, one of two new Scholar Alumni members named to the Board that year.

Gayle is Superintendent of Schools for the Lake Dallas ISD in north Texas. She served for seven years in administration for the Texarkana School District, where her outstanding tenure as principal of Texas High School resulted in her selection as Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.

A native of Redwater, Gayle was one of the first Terry Scholars at the University of Texas, a member of the original class of 1987. She completed her B.S. in 1991 and subsequently earned an M.S. in Education from Texas A&M at Texarkana and a Doctor of Education in 2013 from Lamar University.

Gayle and her husband, Trent, reside in the north Texas area and are the parents of three children.

Brian Garrett Yarbrough is a member of the 1988 class of Terry Scholars and joined the Terry Foundation Board in 2012. Brian is a partner with the law firm Erben & Yarbrough in Austin where he is engaged in legislative and regulatory advocacy before Texas government and state administrative agencies.

Brian is a 1997 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a 1992 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (PLAN II Honors Program) and a 1988 graduate of Canyon High School in New Braunfels.

He is married to Wendy Wagner Yarbrough, from San Antonio. They have three children, Garrett, Wyatt and Lily. They are active members of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Rodeo Austin, and other local civic and charitable activities. 

Coach Darrell K Royal was one of the original directors of the Terry Foundation and a close personal friend of the Terrys. He interviewed many of our early classes of Terry Scholars and was a great friend of the Foundation.

Coach Royal took over as head coach at University of Texas in December 1956, and achieved success almost instantaneously.  In Royal's 20 years as head coach, Texas never had a losing season. Royal posted a 167–47–5 career record at Texas. His overall coaching record was 184–60–5.

Coach Royal was instrumental in the formation of the Foundation, where he served on the Board of Directors from its inception in 1987 until 2002 when he was named Director Emeritus.  Howard Terry observed at that time "we will miss his seasoned wisdom, his keen wit, and his discerning ability to judge character:  all traits that contributed to his success as a coach and recruiter and helped him guide the University of Texas football team to three national championships." 

Elizabeth Riley Keeler is a 1992 Terry Scholar. She was named to the Foundation Board in 2012.

Elizabeth is a native Houstonian. She attended Texas A&M University where she graduated with a BS in Nutritional Science in 1996. She went on to attend medical school at the University of Texas in Houston. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2005 and joined the faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Elizabeth's practice specializes in caring for women with malignancies.

Elizabeth married a fellow Aggie, John Keeler, in 1998 and, together with their five children, they reside in Houston. She is an active volunteer at the children's schools and at the Houston Pregnancy Help Centers. She credits the Terry Scholarship for opening the door of opportunity to a happy life. 

 A message from the Executive Director

September 2013

Greetings from the Terry Foundation!

It is my sincere honor and privilege to serve as the first Executive Director for the Terry Foundation.   My passion for this organization began over 25 years ago when I was one of six Terry Scholars in the inaugural class at Texas A&M in 1987.  I remember being in awe that there was someone willing to help fund my education, and I vowed at that time to do whatever I could to repay that investment.

Now, as I think about almost 1,000 Terry Scholars currently on scholarship, and well over 2,000 Terry Scholar Alumni out making an impact on the world, I realize that I am part of something historic.  Howard and Nancy Terry started an educational foundation out of a desire to help young people to help themselves.  Mr. Terry knew first hand that education was the key to a brighter future.  They both envisioned an organization where personal contact made the difference, and they wanted this scholarship to be more than just a check in the mail.

Current Terry Scholars benefit from decades of experience of those who have gone before and a wealth of resources to help ensure their success.  Alumni can now benefit from the recognition that comes along with being named a Terry Scholar, and can fulfill their commitment to give back by participating in a growing alumni network that seeks to serve, mentor, and empower future generations.

My pledge, to both current Terry Scholars and Terry Alumni, is to help continue to carry on the legacy of Howard and Nancy Terry by upholding the values they held dear.  As an organization, we will strive to maintain that personal contact with all our Scholars and to ensure them that someone cares about their success.  We will seek to enable deserving young people across the state achieve the dream of a higher education.  And we will always try to maintain that sense of a Terry family.

I look forward to working with current Terry Scholars and Alumni across the great state of Texas.  My door is always open and I hope to hear from many of you.  Please call, email, or stop by for a visit.  I’d like to know what you are doing with the opportunity you’ve been given, and I’m always open to suggestions on how we can better serve you.

Best wishes for a future filled with success!

Yvonne Moody's Signature

Yvonne Rode Moody



The Foundation staff includes (back row) Laura L. Sanders (Office Manager), Brandy N. Skillern (Program Analyst), Nancy L. Miller (Administrative Assistant), Milly S. Lackey (Scholar Relations Coordinator), Becky J. Adams (Analyst), Holly N. VanHouten (Scholar Relations Coordinator), and (front row) Jodie F. Koszegi (Program Director), Yvonne R. Moody (Executive Director), Robert L. Parker (Vice President – Administration), and Jamie S. Thyssen (Program Analyst)

“Success is the attainment of the goals you’ve set for yourself in life.”

– Howard L. Terry

The Terry Foundation’s goal is to improve and develop the State of Texas by assisting Texas students to attend the state’s finest public universities.  The Foundation hopes that these students will have a significant impact on the future leadership of the state and nation.  To achieve this goal, the Foundation awards scholarships to students who meet the high standards set by the Founders.

What began in 1986 as a small scholarship program is now the state’s largest private source of scholarships for the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, Texas State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of North Texas, Texas Tech University, and Texas Woman’s University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, and Sam Houston State Universtiy with nearly 1,000 Terry Scholars enrolled.  But its origin was neither large nor legendary – it was as humble and low-profile as the Founders whose name it bears.

The Terry Scholarship Program was born of a desire of Howard and Nancy Terry to help young people to help themselves.  A longtime resident of Houston, Howard Terry had been active for many years in banking, construction, real estate and oil and gas.  With profound business success over the decades and their family’s needs met, the Terrys developed a growing desire to give back to the community and, specifically, to help young people to reach their goals in higher education.

In 1986, the Terrys began considering a variety of options in their desire to make a lasting contribution to the future of Texas higher education.  After evaluating ideas as varied as university campus construction projects and endowed chair faculty positions, the Terrys were still not satisfied.  Knowing that universities are more than buildings and classrooms, Howard Terry had repeatedly declined to allow the universities to honor his previous contributions by placing his name on campus structures:  “Mortar and bricks will eventually be torn down,” he reasoned.  The Terrys believed, in the long term, that a university – like the state it represents – is only as good as the educated citizens it produces.  Thus was born a desire to invest in the students who would attend the public colleges and universities in Texas.

The Terrys’ desire to help young people was influenced greatly by Howard Terry’s own college experience:  he had attended the University of Texas on an athletic scholarship, becoming captain of the football team and graduating in 1938.  His family origins in Cameron, Texas were modest and it was only through the generosity of others that his college education had been made possible.  Mr. Terry never forgot the helping hand that he had received in attending college and was determined to extend that same help to a new generation of students.

After seeking counsel from sources that included former UT-Austin coach Darrell Royal (an original Foundation Board Member) and Houston attorney Rhett Campbell (Board Member since inception and now Board Chair), the Terrys determined that their most lasting contribution would be through a perpetual endowment that would provide college scholarships for students who had demonstrated the capacity to become outstanding future leaders and who needed financial assistance to achieve their goals in higher education.  From this simple concept, the Terry Foundation was created in 1986 to be the source of a perpetual scholarship program.

The first scholarship recipients, known since then as “Terry Scholars,” were selected at interviews held in the summer of 1987.  That original class of seventeen 1987 Scholars was joined in the 1988-1989 academic year by seventeen additional recipients.  Over the years, the number of Scholars selected has increased, with the most recent spring 2013 interviews having resulted in the selection of 277 new freshmen Scholars. 

During the first seventeen years of the Foundation’s history, Scholars attended only the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University.  In the fall of 2004, the Foundation Scholarship Program expanded for the first time, when Terry Scholars were named at the University of Houston and at Texas State University.  Additional growth provided scholarships in 2006 at the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at San Antonio, again in 2010 at the University of North Texas in Denton and in 2011 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, in 2013 at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and as of fall 2014 Texas A&M University at Galveston and Sam Houston State University.  Strategic future plans call for the program’s ultimate expansion to other public universities in Texas.

Continued growth in the Foundation endowment made possible additional program expansion in 2013 when the Board approved a new component to the program:  scholarships for students transferring completed college hours to any of the participating Terry universities.  The Terry Transfer Program commenced in June, 2013 with the selection of 158 Terry Transfer Scholars, launching the largest program in the state specifically designed to assist transfer students.  These transfer recipients will join the 2013 Terry freshmen and upper-class Scholars to number 993 Terry Scholars enrolled for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Since its inception, the Terry Scholarship Program has assisted over 3,200 Texas college students to achieve their goals in higher education.  The Foundation Board oversees a large endowment and now includes six members who are Terry Scholar Alumni.  The program was honored in 2010 by the National Association of Scholarship Providers in being named National Scholarship Provider of the Year. Chartered to exist into perpetuity, the Foundation is designed to continue in the future to add scholarships each year.

Howard Terry was active in the management of the Foundation up until the very end of his long life when he died in 2012 at age 95.  The Foundation lost its second Founder later that same year, when Nancy Terry passed away at the age of 85.

The Terry Foundation has become larger than the Terrys ever imagined, fulfilling in the process their dreams of making a difference in the lives of students across the state.  Despite his extraordinary success in ventures that made the Terry Foundation possible, Howard Terry observed that “the Terry Foundation is the most important thing I’ve done in my life, because it’s enabled me to help more people than I would have ever been able to help otherwise.”