Randy and Corky Frost
May 2024

Full Circle

Modeling creative leadership and service, alumni Randy and Corky Frost support RISD through planned gifts in time for a landmark reunion. 

When Rosalie “Randy” Halsey Frost 59 GD P 97 was weighing whether to attend RISD, she and her mother met with the school’s president at the time, Max Sullivan. 

“My mother asked one critical question,” Frost recounts. “She said, ‘How can you determine whether an applicant is really appropriate for this school?’ And he said, ‘Talent, direction and most of all, drive. We can tell about the first two, but about the third...We only find out when they get here.’” 

As it turned out, Randy, a quilt artist, painter and educator, is a person of tremendous drive, a trait she shares with her husband, architect Corwin “Corky” Frost 59 AR P 97 and their children, artist and entrepreneur Anne Frost Morse 97 GD and artisan and architectural designer Halsey Frost. The Frosts’ family story is one of nearly boundless creative output, spanning media and industries. It was written, in part, at RISD. 

Randy and Corky were first introduced by a mutual friend in New York City before they got to know each other on campus. Randy was pursuing a BFA in Graphic Design, and Corky was about to enter as a graduate student in Architecture. Randy loved RISD from the day she walked into her first class, she says. Corky was drawn to the Architecture program’s artistic orientation, which differed from the more practical study of architecture he had been exposed to as an undergraduate at Princeton University. Both grew up near New York City, so the pair often carpooled home for school breaks. 

“Randy and I met at RISD and because of RISD. We wanted to recognize the institution with a bequest and endowment. Speaking for both of us, it felt like the right thing to do.”
Corwin “Corky” Frost 59 AR P 97

Shortly after graduating, they married. Now, with distinguished professional careers that encompass architecture, consulting, advertising, painting, graphic design and fiber art, and a rich family life as the parents and grandparents of artists, the Bronxville, NY residents will retrace their route back to RISD to celebrate their 65th reunion in 2024 and serve as reunion class volunteers. 

After graduating in 1959, the Frosts began careers that aligned with their parents’ experiences: Corky felt he was foreordained to be an architect like his father and grandfather, he says, and joined the firm Harrison & Abramovitz, working on projects like Lincoln Center and La Guardia Airport. Randy entered advertising, a field in which her father had worked, but found the sexist, Mad Men-like atmosphere of the industry at the time distasteful, and rediscovered painting. 

Randy had always worked extensively in fiber and sewing as well as painting, drawing and collage, she says, but a journalism assignment about a quilt artist inspired her to work with fabric in a new way. “I started playing around with it,” she says, “and I’ve never stopped. I constantly see possibilities in quilting, which doesn’t have to be what is traditionally thought of as quilting. It is image-making, it is three dimensional, it is just delightful.” Her fabric-based work has been collected by museums, shown widely and commissioned. 

Corky’s award-winning career included working for his family firm, Frost Associates, in roles ranging from draftsman to partner. He went on to oversee architecture and engineering hiring for CBS, Inc. and the 20 campuses of the City University of New York. Later, a six-month gig consulting for the Newark, New Jersey Public Schools turned into a 20-year consulting post. While all this was unfolding, Corky, now an emeritus trustee, served multiple terms on RISD’s Board of Trustees—a role his father, Frederick Frost Jr. had also held in the 1960s—was a member of the Alumni Council and chaired the RISD Fund, then known as the Annual Fund, in the early 1990s. “It’s been a variable career,” Corky says, “but it has all been devoted to architecture in one form or another and Randy and this wonder ful family.” 

In the lead-up to their 65th reunion, the Frosts made plans to express, through bequests, their dedication to art and design education at the college and museum. They plan to donate their 500+ volume architectural library to Fleet Library. Including works that were published in the 19th century, the collection is a rich resource for research and teaching. In addition, the couple is establishing the Corwin (“Corky”) Frost 59 AR P 97 and Rosalie (“Randy”) Halsey Frost 59 GD P 97 Fund through a planned gift, and joining the Jesse + Helen Rowe Metcalf Society in the process. This endowed fund will help build a permanent funding source for the library’s critical services, from acquisitions and exhibitions to publications, events and digital resources. 

“We are so grateful for this dual support from the Frosts,” says Margot McIlwain Nishimura, dean of libraries. “The book collection will deepen and enrich our resources for the study of architecture and other areas of design, while the endowment supports the instruction, programming and services we provide to students, faculty and researchers. This goes to the heart of what we do, and ensures the vitality of our collections well into the future.” 

“Randy and I met at RISD and because of RISD,” Corky says. “We wanted to recognize the institution with a bequest and endowment. Speaking for both of us, it felt like the right thing to do.” 

To learn more about the Jesse + Helen Rowe Metcalf Society and planned giving at RISD, please contact Amy Duffell, senior planned giving officer, at 401 277-3151 or aduffell@risd.edu