Frost History Lecture Series

The Frost History Lecture Series was made possible by a generous gift in 2011 from Allan '64 and Fran Frost. Allan and Fran established the Frost History Lectureship Fund in honor of Allan's brother O.W. (Jack) Frost, an English professor at Willamette from 1954-1963, and in memory of his brother David Frost '57, L'60.

Orcutt William (Jack) Frost currently lives in Medford, Oregon. After his time at Willamette, he moved to Anchorage to be the Dean of Liberal Arts at Alaska Pacific University where he spent the rest of his career. He established a university press and championed Native Alaskan prose and poetry. He became interested in Alaskan history late in his career. He was drafted in to WWII out of high school and was a soldier in the Pacific Theater with the Alamo Scouts in the Philippines. His scholarship provided a major contribution to the history of maritime exploration, as he pioneered research in this field throughout his lifetime.

In 1988 O.W. Frost published a translation of Georg Wilhelm Steller’s journal, titled Journal of a Voyage with Bering, 1741-1742. This publication documents the first Russian-led voyage to the northwest coast of America, and the beginning of Alaska’s recorded history. George Wilhelm Steller (1709 - 46) was a German naturalist and academician who accompanied Captian-Commander Vitus Jonassen Bering aboard the St. Peter on an unforgettable journey. O.W. Frost describes the importance of publishing Steller’s journal, “A source document of invaluable historical importance, it is also a narrative of bitter human conflict, of nature as an overwhelming adversary, and of deliverance from death for scarcely more than half the crew.”

In 2003 O.W. Frost published the first biography of Captian-Commander Bering in over a century, Bering: The Russian Discovery of America. The book chronicals Berings adult-life, including his expansion of the Russian empire and his pioneering of the geography of the Northern Pacific Ocean. The book is a major contribution to maritime exploration history as well as an engrossing account of Berings successes and trials.

Dave Frost spent his entire career as an attorney in Hillsboro. He served several terms as a representative in the Oregon Legislature and had three children who are all Willamette graduates.

All Frost graduated from Willamette in 1964 as a chemistry major and continued his medical education at the University of Minnesota. He practiced ophthalmology in Twin Falls, Idaho until his retirement in 2007. He and his wife Fran, have one daughter Marin who graduated from Willamette in 1990 and now lives in Wilsonville. Fran was a history major at Washington State University; they are delighted that they could contribute to the creation of this history series.