BU Today

Campus Life

Honoring a Lost Leader

SHA dedicates student lounge to 9/11 victim Lisa Frost (SHA’01, COM’01)

The School of Hospitality Administration named its new student lounge after Lisa A. Frost (SHA’01, COM’01), who died on September 11, 2001. Attending the dedication ceremony on Saturday were Frost’s parents, Melanie and Tom Frost, and SHA Dean James Stamas. Photo by Vernon Doucette

More than five years after United Airways Flight 175 slammed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower, Jan Lam still recalls the gentle laughter of her best friend, Lisa A. Frost, who was on the plane. Friends since the fourth grade, the two women grew up sharing a passion for learning and a zest for life. The summer after they graduated from Boston University, they decided to move to San Francisco. The plan, says Lam (SMG’01), was that Frost (COM’01, SHA’01) would fly to Los Angeles and spend a few days with her family before joining Lam in San Francisco.

“Her boxes arrived,” Lam says. “But she never did.”

Frost, 22, a student leader remembered for her kind smile and her drive to succeed, died on September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four commercial jet airliners in a suicide mission that left nearly 3,000 people dead. Frost’s memory, though, lives on among the more than 70 friends and family members who gathered at BU last weekend to dedicate the Lisa A. Frost Student Lounge. Located on the second floor of the new School of Hospitality Administration building at 928 Commonwealth Ave., the 560-square-foot room has coffee tables, lounge chairs, and high-speed Internet access.

“Lisa once asked me, ‘Do you think we’ll ever have our names on a building at BU?’” Lam recalls. “She loved it here. She loved BU, and she loved Boston.”

Frost wanted to attend BU from the moment she found out about it. “There was no looking back,” says her mother, Melanie Frost. “She came home and said, ‘I want to go to a school 3,000 miles away,’ and her father said, ‘Uh, I don’t think so!’”

But Frost was adamant that BU — and more specifically, SHA — was where she wanted to be, and she arrived on campus in the fall of 1997. Juggling her studies with extracurricular activities — including volunteering in the Office of Admissions, serving as copresident of the SHA student government, and interning at the Boston College Club — Frost pursued a dual degree, in hospitality administration and in advertising from the College of Communication. Despite health complications — she suffered collapsed lungs during her freshman and junior years — Frost graduated summa cum laude and was valedictorian of her SHA class.       

“I knew Lisa as not just a student, but as a person and a leader,” says James Stamas, SHA dean. “She was the best student I’ve known since I’ve been at SHA.”

“Lisa took so many notes in class that I generally thought she knew more about the course topics than I did,” recalls Chris Cakebread, a COM assistant professor of advertising.

Frost was so involved with SHA that it seems only fitting to name the new student lounge in her honor, says her father, Tom Frost. “I know that given the chance, she’d have probably earned this accolade someday on her own,” he says. “Her spirit is very much here in Boston.”

Frost’s chef coat and watercolor paintings, on display at Saturday’s dedication ceremony, are testimony to the young woman’s array of talents and interests, says Melanie Frost. “I was in awe of her,” she says. “She was so driven — I could never keep up with her.”

The impact Frost had on the lives around her is evident on “We Remember,” a Web site that pays tribute to the 28 BU alumni who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. More than 200 people have left comments in his daughter’s memory, says Tom Frost. “She is missed every day,” he says, “but Lisa never backed down from a challenge, and that’s why we have to keep going.”    

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.