Pelosi Floor Speech Honoring the Life of Carol J. Lancaster

November 12, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today honoring the life of Carol J. Lancaster, who passed away last month at the age of 72.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the life of Carol J. Lancaster, the visionary educator, public servant, and trailblazing Dean of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, who passed away last month.

“Born to working-class parents during the Second World War, Lancaster became the first in her family to attend college.  At Georgetown University, she became one of the first women to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Foreign Service.  Following graduation, Lancaster was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study at the Universidad de San Andres in La Paz, Bolivia – adding Spanish to the five additional languages she would learn in adulthood.  Lancaster later earned a doctorate in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1972.

“After teaching in England and following a series of prestigious fellowships, she was called to serve at the U.S. Department of State as a member of the Policy Planning Staff and, in the early 1980s, she became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the State Department.  During the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.  In every position, she focused her time and talents on creating a better world for all our children.

“At the end of her government service, Lancaster’s commitment to building the next generation of global leaders compelled her to teach at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she inspired students, encouraged scholars, strengthened diplomacy and authored numerous books and articles for more than 30 years.  At Georgetown, Lancaster motivated a new generation of young leaders, thinkers, and problem solvers to soar to greater heights and tackle today’s challenges with vigor, compassion and courage.

“Her legacy of excellence continues to echo through the Georgetown community.

“Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia noted that Lancaster ‘provided extraordinary leadership as Dean of SFS and was a leader and a professor contributing in countless ways to our community through her vision and scholarship.  Moreover the joy and dedication that Carol brought to her work inspired us all to be the very best versions of ourselves.’

“Chairman of the Foreign Service School’s Board of Visitors, my husband Paul Pelosi, noted that as the first woman and first alumnus to become Dean of the School of Foreign Service, Lancaster ‘was renowned for her commitment to her students; she demonstrated both intellectual curiosity and courage and had a profound effect on the way we think about global development.  Carol will be remembered as a pioneering woman in international affairs and a stalwart champion of human dignity.’

“In conclusion, when speaking around the world, Lancaster often had to stand on what she called the ‘Madeleine Albright box’ to be seen over podiums.  Today, thousands of young students and women from across the world stand on her shoulders, inspired by her example and empowered by her leadership to speak boldly, act bravely, and make their mark in the world.

“May it be a comfort to her husband, Curt, their son Douglas, who is with us today with his wife, and the entire Farrar family that so many people around the world mourn their loss, share their grief, and are praying from them at this sad time.  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia said it best, ‘may she rest in peace for her long years of labor to make the world a better place.’”