H. Martin Lancaster

H. Martin Lancaster, President
North Carolina Community College System

H. Martin Lancaster became President of the North Carolina Community College System on July 1, 1997

High School: Pikeville High School, 1961
College: University of North Carolina, AB - 1965
Law School: UNC School of Law - 1967

Work Experience:

  • Summer 1964, Intern in State Government, Water Resources Department.
  • Summer 1966, Research Assistant, U.S. Senate, Constitutional Rights Subcommittee (Senator Sam J. Ervin, Chairman).
  • 1967-1970, Judge Advocate, U.S. Navy.
  • 1970-1986, Partner, Law Firm of Baddour, Lancaster, Parker and Hine.
  • 1979-1986, Member, N.C. House of Representatives.
  • 1987-1995, Member, U.S. House of Representatives.
  • 1995 (January-March), Special Assistant to Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.
  • 1995-1996, Special Advisor to the President on Chemical Weapons.
  • 1996- 1997, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
  • 1997 - , President, North Carolina Community College System.
College and Law School Activities:
  • Student Legislature, State Student Legislature, Men's Resident Council, Chairman of Student Publications Board, Carolina Political Union
  • Order of the Old Well, Phi Alpha Theta
  • Honorary History Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega
  • Law Alumni Scholar
  • Secretary of Student Bar Association
  • House Master and College Master.
  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Twelfth Naval District, 3/68-9/68;
  • Staff Judge Advocate, USS HANCOCK (CVA-19), 9/68-2/70;
  • Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Washington Naval District, 3/70-12/70; 
  • Air Force Reserves, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., 12/70-4/83; 
  • Naval Reserves, VTU (LAW) 0708, Raleigh,
    N.C., 4/83-86; VTU, Washington, D.C.,
  • 1987-1993 (Captain, Retired).
Community Activities:
  • Chairman, North Carolina Arts Council, 1977-81; 
  • Chairman, Goldsboro-Wayne Bicentennial Commission, 1975-76; 
  • President, Community Arts Council, 1973-74;
  • President, Wayne Community Concert Association, 1972-73; Chairman, Board of Trustees, Wayne County Public Library, 1979-80; 
  • Chairman, Wayne Chapter, American Red Cross, 1978-79; 
  • Deacon, First Presbyterian Church, 1972-75;
  • Elder, First Presbyterian Church, 1980-86; 
  • Member: Masonic Lodge-York Rite and Scottish Rite (Knight Commander, Court of Honor; 33), Shriner, Elks Lodge, Wayne County Historical Society, Wayne County Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association (Board of Governors), American Bar Association, N.C. Association of Trial Lawyers, Association of Trial Lawyers of
    America, Kiwanis Club, Advisory Board of Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
  • Member, N.C. House of Representatives, 1978-86: Chairman, Judiciary Committee, 1983-86; 
  • Chairman, Highway Safety Committee, 1981-83; 
  • Member: Governmental Ethics, 1979-86;
  • Veterans Affairs, 1971-81, 1983-86;
  • Appropriations, 1978-82;
  • Finance, 1982-86; Corrections, 1983-84;
  • Housing, 1983-84; 
  • Judicial Council, 1979-83; 
  • Product Liability Law Study Commission,
  • Chairman, Health Occupational Licensing Boards Study Commission, 1981-82;
  • Investment of Public Funds Study Commission, 1981-82; 
  • Separation of Powers Study Commission,
    1981-82; Chairman, Neuse River Basin Study Commission, 1983-84;
  • Computer Literacy Study Commission, 1983-84; 
  • Mental Health Study Commission, 1981-86;
  • Joint Committee on Governmental Operations,
    1985-86; Chairman, Simplified Business Licensing Commission,
  • 1985-86; Venture Capital Study Commission, 1985-86.
  • Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-95; 
  • At Large Democratic Whip, 1987-95;
  • Member: Committee on Armed Services
    (1987-95), Subcommittees: Readiness; Research and Technologies;
  • Military Personnel and Compensation; Panels: Chairman, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Panel; 
  • Defense Policy Panel; 
  • Environmental Restoration Panel; 
  • Committee of Merchant Marine and Fisheries
    (1993-95); Committee on Public Works and Transportation (1987);
  • Committee on Small Business (1987-95); 
  • Arts Caucus; Clearinghouse on the Future;
  • Competitiveness Caucus; 
  • Environmental and Energy Study Conference;
  • Human Rights Caucus; 
  • Travel and Tourism Caucus; Olympic Caucus;
  • Sportsmen Caucus; 
  • Rural Health Care Coalition; 
  • Far East Studies Institute Board of Advisors;
  • Congressional Study Group on Japan;
  • Chairman, Congressional Study Group on
    Germany (1994); Democratic Leadership Council; 
  • National Advisory Board, Navy UDT/SEAL Memorial Park; 
  • Board of Visitors, U.S. Air Force Academy;
  • Delegate to North Atlantic Assembly (NATO)
  • Atlantic Conference Delegate, Sea Island, 1994; 
  • Delegate representing the House at Chemical Weapons Talks in Geneva, 1988-94;
  • Chairman, CSIS Congressional Study Group on Chemical Arms Control, 1992-93;
  • Co-Chairman, Stimson Center Study Group
    of the Chemical Weapons Convention, 1994;
  • Chairman, National Prayer Breakfast, 1995.
  • Chairman, U.S. Section, Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses, 1996-l997; 
  • Chairman, U.S. Delegation to Mississippi-Rhine Exchange, 1996; 
  • Board and Secretary, Former Members of Congress Association, 1995-; 
  • Board, Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, 1996-; 
  • National Security Law Committee, American Bar Association, 1995-l997; 
  • Board, Bulgarian-American Friendship Society; 
  • Lecturer, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch, Germany, 1995-.
  • Education Cabinet, North Carolina Public School Forum Board,
  • Southern Regional Education Board, 
  • North Carolina Economic Development,
  • Governor's Workforce Preparedness Commission,
  • North Carolina Global Transpark Board, 
  • North Carolina Rural Development Council, 
  • N. C. Partnership for Children Board, 
  • UNC Center for Public Television Board.
Awards and Biographical Listings:
  • 1987 4-H Club National Alumnus of the Year Award; 1986 4-H Club North Carolina Alumnus of the Year Award; 
  • 1989 and 1994 National Security Leadership Award; 
  • 1993 Freedom Award, N.C. Wing, Civil Air Patrol; 
  • 1992 Distinguished Service Award, American Logistics Association; 
  • Tad Davis Award, U.S. Military Athletic Association;
  • 1990 Eagle of Freedom Award, American Security Council Foundation; 
  • 1988, 1989 and 1990 Sound Dollar Award;
  • 1989 Doer of Deeds Award (Outstanding Democratic Whip); 
  • 1989, 1992, 1994 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award; 
  • 1994 National Federation of Independent Businesses Guardian of Small Business Award;
  • 1991 N.C. Primary Care Association and National Association of Community Health Centers Public Health Service Awards; 
  • 1990 Honorary Member of Civil Air Patrol;
  • 1991 Nathan Hale Award (Reserve Officers Association); 
  • 1985 Special Award, Governor's Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities; 
  • 1985 Valand Award (Mental Health Association of North Carolina); 
  • 1984 N.C. Crime and Justice Award (Governor's Crime Commission);
  • 1983 Wayne County Great American Family Award (National Finalist); 
  • 1979 and 1980 Outstanding Reserve Judge Advocate of the Year (Tactical Air Command); 
  • 1977 Distinguished Service Award (Goldsboro Jaycees); 
  • Outstanding Young Men of America;
  • Personalities of the South; 
  • Who's Who in North Carolina; 
  • Who's Who in American Law International;
  • Who's Who of Contemporary Achievement;
  • Who's Who in America. Honorary degrees awarded by Sandhills Community College (1998) and South Piedmont Community College (2000)

Wife: Alice Matheny Lancaster (Former Adjunct Faculty, Northern Virginia Community College and Montgomery College).

Daughters: Ashley Lancaster Templer (Mrs. Trent James Templer) and Mary Martin Lancaster


The following additional information is a biographical narrative of Lancaster who became president of the North Carolina Community College System on July 1, 1997.

Early Years

Born and raised on a tobacco farm in rural Eastern North Carolina, Lancaster spent his early years working in the fields, attending a small rural school (excelling in academics and student leadership positions, particularly the 4-H Club), and participating in local church youth activities.

In 1957, he served as a Page in the North Carolina House of Representatives and in 1959, as Chief Page.

In 1961, Lancaster began his university studies at the University of North Carolina, again holding numerous student leadership positions. He entered the law school at UNC after his junior year in college as a Law Alumni Scholar, graduating in 1967.

Military Service

Graduating from law school at the height of Vietnam, Lancaster became a Judge Advocate in the Navy, serving on active duty for three years, eighteen months of which were spent on the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) off the coast of Vietnam. He continued as an active reservist, retiring as a Navy Captain in 1993.

Professional Beginnings

Lancaster returned to his hometown after military service and entered the private practice of law with a college and law school classmate. Between then and his leaving the firm upon his election to Congress in 1986, the firm grew to seven lawyers. Lancaster engaged in the general practice of law which included representing farmers, small businesses and small towns in every kind of case. Active in professional organizations, he was elected to the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Civic leadership positions came early, with Lancaster serving as president or chairman of many community endeavors with emphasis on cultural organizations. In 1977 the Governor appointed him Chairman of the North Carolina Arts Council, a position he held for four years. This community involvement led naturally to elective office, first to the North Carolina House of Representatives and ultimately to the U. S. Congress.

Legislative Career

Lancaster quickly established himself as an effective legislator, serving as a committee chairman in his second term. In his third and fourth terms, he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and was ranked both sessions as the fifth most effective member by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Lancaster was noted especially for effective floor action and championed many issues in the fields of education, mental health, the arts and the legal system. Two of his most noteworthy initiatives were authoring and seeing to the enactment of North Carolina's crackdown on drunk drivers and establishing the guardian ad litem program to give children who find themselves in court a friend to see them through the experience.


In Congress, Lancaster served on the Armed Services, Small Business, Agriculture, and Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committees. His major committee was Armed Services where he became a real champion of the service members and their families. As Chairman of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation panel, he led efforts to improve commissary benefits by merging the three service systems into one of the largest grocery "companies" in the country, to expand and improve the quality of retail shopping in the exchange systems, to enhance child care services, and in general to improve the quality of life for all. In essence, he served as Chairman of the Board of a huge grocery chain and three large retail chains at a time of major upheaval.

The merger of the commissary systems required merging and harmonizing three personnel systems, three computer systems, three buying programs, three marketing strategies and three sets of policies of various kinds while keeping more than two million customers and thousands of suppliers happy. The exchange systems went from a practice of significant Congressional subsidy to self-sufficiency during Lancaster's tenure.

Readiness of the forces and acquisition reform were other interests. As an active Navy reservist and a representative of many constituents who were active duty, reservists or National Guardsmen, Lancaster played a leading role in issues important to those personnel.

Lancaster represented the House for six years at the Chemical Weapons Convention negotiations in Geneva. This required his presence in Geneva on a regular basis, as well as his active efforts in Washington to educate his colleagues, the administration and the public on the on going negotiations and ultimately to educate them on the provisions as finalized.

Active in the Congressional Study Group on Germany from the first days of his tenure in Congress, Lancaster became Chairman of the Group in 1994. In this capacity he worked closely with Members of Congress and the German Bundestag (that country's parliament) interested in the German-U.S. relationship, becoming friends with Members of the Bundestag and traveling frequently to Germany. As a delegate to the North Atlantic Assembly (the parliamentary arm of NATO), Lancaster also worked with parliamentarians from other NATO countries on policy and political issues of the region. After 1990, parliamentarians from former Warsaw Pact countries began meeting with NAA delegates at their twice yearly meetings, giving Lancaster and other delegates insight into the problems of those countries and the expansion of NATO.

In 1995, Lancaster chaired the National Prayer Breakfast which brings people of all faiths and from more than 160 countries to Washington each year to join prayer for our country and theirs. As an outgrowth of that experience, for two years he hosted on an ad hoc basis a fellowship luncheon for Ambassadors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union).

As the son of a tobacco farmer and as the person representing more tobacco farmers than any other Member, Lancaster found himself in the position of defending those farmers and their way of life as tobacco came under increasing attacks. He became sensitized to environmental concerns on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and championed small business concerns from his position on the Small Business Committee.


Defeated in the Republican sweep of North Carolina and the country in 1994, Lancaster worked briefly for Governor Jim Hunt handling federal issues. However, with his family in the Washington area, when the President asked that he assist him with the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, he eagerly accepted. Anticipating ratification in the fall of 1995, the president nominated Lancaster to become Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, a position for which the Senate confirmed him in January of 1996. In this capacity, Lancaster was primarily responsible for policy development and advocacy for the Army Corps of Engineers before the Office of Management and Budget, the White House, and the Congress. As the civilian head of the Corps, he gave policy guidance and oversight to the operation of the Corps, an organization of 27,000 employees deployed across the globe in 38 district offices and 11 divisions. Their mission is to plan, design, build and maintain the nation's infrastructure for navigation (harbors, channels, inland waterways, locks, etc.), flood control (dams, levees, stream improvements, etc.), hydroelectric power generation (a by-product of the flood control structures), and environmental regulation and restoration.

Community College Presidency

Since July 1, 1997, President Lancaster has provided leadership to the North Carolina Community College System, one of the largest and best systems in the country. His major initiatives have been to increase funding and private support for upgrading the equipment and technology of the colleges; to improve salaries of faculty and staff so the system can continue to attract and retain the high quality of personnel for which it is known; and to make the system a major player in economic development in North Carolina through its major mission of work forced preparation. As President he serves on numerous boards and commissions, most of which are focused on education, economic development, and work force issues.



National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges
AACC One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 410
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202)728-0200 Fax: (202)833-2467











The National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  The council provides a forum for the exchange of information about developments, trends, and problems in state systems of community colleges.  

Through our affiliation with AACC, we also strive to affect national legislation that impacts our colleges and state agencies.

This is the only Council that represents the collective interest of state agencies and state boards of community colleges.  This council is a valuable forum to help state directors deal with the changes in attitude and policies towards community colleges at the international, federal, state and local levels.  We will share information and learn lessons from each other to better serve the interests of our institutions in the coming years.

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