Former W&L Trustee Thomas C. Frost Jr. ’50 Dies at 90 The San Antonian native served on the board from 1972-1982.
Thomas C. Frost Jr., a former W&L trustee from 1972 to 1982, died Aug. 10, 2018. He was 90. He graduated from W&L in 1950 with a B.S. in commerce, summa cum laude.
“Tom was a legend in San Antonio, serving in leadership positions on a number of civic and professional organizations,” said President Will Dudley. “Over the years he remained keenly interested in W&L, and when I met him last March he spoke fondly of his time as a trustee and with real enthusiasm about the university’s current goals and future prospects. We are grateful for his dedication to his alma mater and for his wise counsel.”
A native San Antonian, Frost was the fourth generation of his family to oversee the bank founded by his great-grandfather, Col. T.C. Frost, in 1868. He began his banking career in 1950, starting as assistant cashier in Frost’s Foreign Department and becoming president in 1962. He retired in 1997, after 35 years at the helm of Cullen/Frost.
During Texas’ economic downturn in the 1980s, Frost oversaw the bank’s growth, and its transition into a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997. Of the top 10 banks in Texas in 1980, only Frost Bank emerged from that turbulent decade without a merger or outside assistance. Frost emphasized banking relationships rather than transactions and often answered his own phone. He cherished his employees and regarded them as the front line to excellent service.
Frost served in leadership positions for numerous professional organizations, including SBC Communications Inc., the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve System, the Association of Reserve City Bankers, the Texas Bankers Association and the San Antonio Clearing House Association. He was instrumental in helping orchestrate the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in San Antonio in 1982.
Frost also supported community development in San Antonio, with service on the boards of the San Antonio Medical Foundation, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, the Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, Southwest Research Institute and on the Executive Committee of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. He also served on the boards of Project Quest, the McNay Art Museum, the Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio and the YMCA.
Fluent in Spanish and an aficionado of Mexican culture, he co-founded the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright-Garcia Robles Commission). He received the Aguila Azteca medal, the highest honor the government of Mexico confers on a non-Mexican citizen.
Frost was deeply involved with educational endeavors, including the University of Texas at San Antonio, Austin College, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the National University of Mexico (UNAM) Foundation and the Texas Independent College Fund. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Austin College and an Honorary Doctor of International Relations degree from the University of the Americas in Mexico City.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Patricia “Pat” Holden Frost; his sons, Tom C. Frost III and his wife Meaghan, Bill H. Frost and his wife Tanya, Don B. Frost and his wife Lou Celia, and Pat B. Frost and his wife Kelley; 13 grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.