Camilla “Mia” Chandler Frost ’47


A photo portrait of Camilla “Mia” Chandler Frost ’47

Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage

Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage

Camilla “Mia” Chandler Frost ’47, Wellesley College trustee emerita, passed away at the age of 98 on Feb. 7.

I feel so very fortunate to have known and worked with Mia for 14 of the 18 years she served as a Wellesley trustee. For her final seven years on the board, I served as chair of the Board of Trustees, and we worked together closely. As the obituary in the Los Angeles Times stated: “Wellesley was one of the great formative influences in her life.”

The extent of the influence Mia had on Wellesley can be seen in the Camilla Chandler Frost ’47 and Dorothy Buffum Chandler Exhibition Gallery, the Chandler Pool, two endowed professorships (in environmental studies and sciences), and the Frost Endowed Environmental Science/Studies Fund. Her most recent contribution to Wellesley established the Camilla Chandler Frost ’47 Center for the Environment.

Mia took very seriously her responsibilities as a member of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, and her attendance, even coming from California, was stellar. Never was there a complaint that a meeting starting at 7:30 a.m. meant she had to awaken at Wellesley at 4:30 a.m. California time. She was always there—ready to work—totally alert and smiling. Her mild manner and affable nature were deceiving—she was always fully informed about the issues facing the board, and often had ideas for an excellent solution. Mia was also extraordinarily generous to Wellesley. I remember vividly the campuswide excitement when the beautiful new Chandler Pool opened!

Nan Overholser Keohane ’61 shares a memory from early in her Wellesley presidency. Mia accompanied Nan on her first fundraising experience, a visit to Dorothy Johnston Towne ’23 in Los Angeles to ask for a naming gift for the field house. “Mia’s composure helped me relax, and I successfully maneuvered the request; Dorothy was enthusiastic about the idea and our mission was a success!” Nan writes. Nan was always grateful for Mia’s mentorship “and for all the other ways she was a partner during her trusteeship. She was an exemplary Wellesley woman,” she says.

Mia’s extensive philanthropic work also notably included her involvement with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she was an officer of the board for over 20 years and served as its first female president. As a member of the Chandler family, longtime publishers of the Los Angeles Times, Mia was a treasurer and director of Chandis Securities Company and later became a trustee of the Chandler Trusts. She also served as a director of Security Pacific Bank and SCEcorp.

My husband, Stan, and I visited Mia many times at her vacation home in the California desert. She was always eager to hear the latest Wellesley news and to tell us about her recent travels from which she had brought home fascinating pieces of art. She was also a marvelous hostess for the Wellesley tennis team’s spring training trip.

Our daughter, Martha Goldberg Aronson ’89, was assigned to stay at Mia’s home with her tennis teammate. Martha recalls admiring the Picassos hanging in Mia’s house. Martha commented, “My teammate quipped, ‘I don’t think those are art posters that came from the campus bookstore like the ones hanging in our dorm rooms!’ And I replied, ‘Nope, they were the real deal, just like Mia.’ Understated, cared so deeply for Wellesley, a great athlete, a kind person. We lost a giant.”

I feel privileged to have known and worked with this extraordinary and devoted alumna. Mia’s legacy of the Camilla Chandler Frost ’47 Center for the Environment, and so much more, enable her memory to live on in important ways that are particularly fitting for this amazing alumna.

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