Art and Patricia Modell
[9/6/12] Today, we say good-bye to Arthur B. Modell, our friend and supporter of the School of Social Work and our mission. The outpouring of tributes to Art is breathtaking testimony to his acumen in business, advertising, football (of course) and to promoting Baltimore City and his beloved Baltimore Ravens. Without question, Art was a visionary and still, a "man’s man," brusque, tough, smart, wise – a self-made man who grew up in Brooklyn in abject poverty, overcoming his "street fighter" image and rising to the top of the NFL, first as the owner of the Cleveland Browns, followed by the Baltimore Ravens. And, while many will remember and revere Art for his extraordinary leadership in the NFL, we will remember far more.
Art, who adored his wife of forty-two years, Patty, was "as one" with her until she died last October. Art and Pat conferred, consulted, cajoled and critiqued one another in matters of life, great and small. Pat was Art's steadfast cheerleader and counselor, and he was hers. Their philanthropy is Maryland legend and while Pat was often the "front man" in their work on behalf of dozens of charities ranging from the Seed School to St. Vincent's, the House of Ruth, Kennedy Krieger, The Modell Lyric, and The School of Social Work, Art was the ever-wise analyst, ambassador, and father-in-charge. Art drove the bus and carried the torch of caring, with grace and humor. He often offered a chance and even a second chance to others. These were a life-line for so many, ranging from his players to children and their families who were abused, neglected or caught in the web of poverty and violence. Art and Pat launched the Modell Symposium against Domestic Violence at SSW in 2010 to advance our ability to protect victims of family violence. In parallel, they promoted and even saved dozens of charities who were themselves struggling.
The measure of this man is not simply as he wished, "to go out on top" or even his wealth, power and success; the true measure of Art Modell was his love, compassion and generosity to those who just needed a hand-up. The School of Social Work family will miss Art and remain committed to helping to achieve goals that were just as dear to him.