Frost History Lecture Series

The Frost History Lecture Series was made possible by a generous gift in 2011 from Allan BA'64 and Fran Frost. Allan and Fran established the Frost History Lectureship Fund in honor of Allan's brothers O.W. "Jack" Frost, an English professor at Willamette from 1954-1963, and his brother David Frost BA'57, LLB'60. An additional gift was made by Mary B. Frost in 2022 in memory of her husband O.W. "Jack" Frost.

O.W. “Jack” Frost obtained his BA, MA and PhD in English from the University of Illinois. He taught English at Willamette from 1954 to 1963 where he developed and administered the Honors Program. . 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 Captain-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 Captain-Commander Bering in over a century, Bering: The Russian Discovery of America. The book chronicle Bering's 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.

David Frost received an undergraduate degree in Economics (1957) from Willamette University and also completed his LLB from Willamette Law School (1960). He practiced law in Hillsboro for more than 40 years and served two terms as a State Representative in the Oregon Legislature. He also was the corporate attorney for Tuality Healthcare and the attorney for numerous cities in western Oregon. David had three children who are also Willamette graduates.

Allan 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.

Willamette University

History Department

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6061 voice
503-370-6944 fax

Back to Top