Prince Charles lauds Lancaster

Washington CorrespondentMay 6, 2011 

— Martin Lancaster, who served four terms in Congress and a decade at the helm of the state's community college system, was honored Thursday morning by Prince Charles at the British embassy.

Lancaster, of Goldsboro, was made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Lancaster was honored for services to the people of Northern Ireland. Lancaster spent years developing a relationship between community colleges in North Carolina and higher education systems in Northern Ireland.

He has been a member of the Northern Ireland Employment and Skills Group since 2003, helping to develop a work force in a region hit hard by economic woes.

Lancaster received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster in 2005.

The Order of the British Empire awarded Thursday is offered for extraordinary service to the community in any field. Lancaster was given a medal, and he is allowed to write "Honorary OBE" after his name.

It is officially offered by Queen Elizabeth II, but was presented by Prince Charles. He is in the United States this week for a brief visit, just a few days after the royal wedding of his son, Prince William, to Kate Middleton.

Lancaster served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat before losing to Republican Walter Jones in 1994.

He served as president of the N.C. Community College system from 1997 through 2008. While there, he developed a professor exchange with Northern Ireland. or 202-383-0012

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