A $1.5 million gift from the Jack and Charlotte Frost Family Foundation will establish a new Frost Family Investment Fund at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The Frost Family Investment Fund will support the Veterans Entrepreneurship Alumni Program, provide skills and support for startup businesses in underserved areas and create undergraduate scholarships focused exclusively on supporting students across the UTC campus who are either military veterans themselves, the children of veterans, the children of first responders or currently enrolled in ROTC.
“The Frosts are a close-knit family with a deep connection to UTC and Chattanooga. The University and our mission to engage students, inspire change and enrich community are embedded in them,” Chancellor Steven R. Angle said. “Going back to Jack Frost, a University of Chattanooga graduate and the family patriarch, through his children and grandchildren, UTC has had a tremendous impact on their family, and they have had a great impact on UTC.
“With this generous gift, the Frost Family Foundation demonstrates their genuine belief in the work we do at UTC. It is so meaningful that the family worked together to establish a gift supporting our students and programs.”
The announcement was made during the University’s annual Scholarship Luncheon program on Tuesday.
“The Frost family’s gift is going to provide so many opportunities for our students and allow them to have meaningful and engaging experiences,” said Kim White, UTC vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs and executive director of the University of Chattanooga Foundation. “The Frosts embody the Mocs spirit, and we are grateful they have chosen to invest in our university and our incredible students.”
Jack Frost, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 90, graduated from the University of Chattanooga in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He later was an accounting instructor at the University.
He was involved in the startup and operation of nearly 20 businesses during his professional career encompassing financial services, technology, manufacturing and distribution, including Tuftco Corp.—a Chattanooga-based company that manufactures carpet-making machinery and sells its products worldwide. In 2006, he was inducted into the Gary W. Rollins College of Business Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.
Jack and Charlotte Frost were married for 62 years before she passed away in 2014.
Members of the family participating in the announcement included:
- Their son, Steve Frost, and his wife, Lisa. Steve is a 1975 UTC graduate (business administration, MBA in 1977 from UT Knoxville). He serves as treasurer of the UC Foundation and has been a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Rollins College of Business for more than 20 years.
- Their daughter, Susan Frost Bishop, a recipient of two degrees from UTC (bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1982, MBA in 1984). Susan’s late husband, Mike, pursued an MBA at UTC.
- Steve’s daughter, Amy Frost Haddock, and her husband, John. Amy was a Brock Scholar and 2001 accounting graduate.
- Steve’s son, Jonathan Frost, and his wife, Lindsey. Jonathan is a two-time UTC graduate (accounting degree in 2004, MBA in 2007) and a Dean’s Advisory Board member. Lindsey graduated from UTC in 2005 (human ecology: interior design).
- Susan’s sons, David and Will. David did not attend the University, but his wife, Maggie (Brock scholar), brothers Will and Ben, and Will’s wife, Megan, are all UTC graduates.
Steve Frost spoke for the family.
“My dad was the first of his family to graduate from college. Since then, the blue-and-gold has run deeply in our veins, as almost all of his descendants have graduated from UTC—including my sister, two of her sons, two of her daughters-in-law, plus my daughter, son, and daughter-in-law,” said Frost, chairman of Tuftco Corp.
“From very humble beginnings, my mom and dad worked hard to make a life for our family that was stable and flavored with discipline. They instilled in us a work ethic to use the gifts that God had given us to make a contribution and investment in the lives of others. I dearly wish that my mom and dad could be here today to witness and celebrate with us this opportunity to share the fruits of their labors.”
Robert Dooley, dean of the Rollins College of Business, said the Frost Family Investment Fund gift would provide seed funding and continuing five-year support for three different initiatives at UTC.
“The family’s investment in UTC will have an immense—and immediate—impact on our capacity to transform individual lives and careers while supporting broad social and economic development within the inner city and beyond,” Dooley said.
A portion of the Frost Family Investment Fund gift will complement and elevate the college’s successful Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP), celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022. The UTC VEP provides military veterans with instruction and support to help them launch, or grow, their own businesses. In the nine years that the program has existed at UTC, 129 veterans have completed the program and have acquired nearly $13 million in capital.
The Frost Family gift will help launch a program for alumni of the VEP, known as VEP 2.0, including a VEP Accelerator Bootcamp. Every three years, 25 high-potential alumni from the UTC VEP will convene for instruction and mentoring to accelerate their business’s next-stage development. In addition, an alumni conference will be created to enhance networking and career opportunities. The conference will be open to alumni from all three of the VEP consortium schools.
“The family loved the veterans’ program that we currently have, and we have been talking about doing a different VEP version for program graduates,” Dooley said. “Through VEP 2.0, we can bring together graduates of the three consortium schools that have the VEP program—UTC, (University of) Florida and Oklahoma State—to a conference we will host here in Chattanooga with programming, keynote speakers and networking events.”
Dooley said part of the gift would focus on providing skills and support for startup businesses in underserved areas, reflecting the college’s commitment to supporting social and economic development in Chattanooga and the region.
This new initiative will create a partnership between the college, the University of Notre Dame and local organizations to identify economically disadvantaged individuals interested in developing new businesses and judged to possess the ability and determination to succeed if provided sufficient training instructive experiences. The program will consist of five 10-month instructional programs and allow for UTC student-intern participation.
“This is going to be a great conduit for our students because a component of that is to provide internship opportunities for students working with these startup entrepreneurs,” Dooley said. “It’s exciting because it will demonstrate the impact we can have by assisting and supporting people creating new ventures.”
In addition, a new scholarship program has been established. Frost Family Undergraduate Scholarships will benefit UTC students who are military veterans, currently engaged in ROTC or children of veterans or first responders.
“I’m pleased that this scholarship is open to students across campus that meet the criteria,” Dooley said. “The family has a passion for supporting veterans, first responders and their families, and this will provide pretty substantial scholarship assistance.”