The award was presented during the Ohio Section meetings held at Youngstown State University. The award is presented to those who are widely recognized as successful teachers, have an influence in their teaching of mathematics beyond their own institutions and foster curiosity and excitement about mathematics in their students.
Over the span of several decades, Lancaster has consistently earned superlative student evaluations of his teaching. It is not uncommon for students to take his courses as electives motivated by his ability and reputation of making mathematics a challenging yet thoroughly enjoyable learning experience. A student writes, "he shows an uncommon concern toward his students, he always takes time to listen to me about my struggles, academic and otherwise." A hallmark of his teaching is that "he has an amazing ability to make lucid the most involved and technical topics; he can see his field through the eyes of a beginner and is able to communicate mathematics at an appropriate level." These student testimonials illustrate why Dr. Lancaster was awarded in 1992 the prestigious Reynold's Teaching Award at Marshall University, recognized uniquely as the outstanding professor of the year.
In addition to Marshall, Lancaster taught part time for nearly nine years at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. Nearly six of those years included teaching at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. Making the effort to teach mathematics to some of the state's most hardened inmates reflects a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for all students. Several incarcerated students who completed their sentences have gone on to productive citizenship thanks, in part, to the practical mathematics training they received from Lancaster
During his tenure at Marshall, Lancaster has served as department chair, undergraduate and graduate advisor and has served on countless master's degree oral examination committees. He has supervised several Yeager (honors) senior projects. Recently, under his direction, a senior student project (John White) was published in the Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate journal.
Other mathematical activities include co-authoring a National Science Foundation grant which funded a NeXT computer lab equipped with Mathematica as well as new course developments in vector calculus and computer calculus. During his career,Dr. Lancaster has published several papers in refereed journals. He has consulted for the graduate mathematics program at Tennessee Technological University. He has been an active member of the Mathematical Association of America and has been a strong advocate for mathematical excellence throughout the Ohio valley.
Dr. Lancaster received his Ph.D. in 1972 from Indiana University in the field of Operator Theory. He has been an active member of the Marshall University faculty since 1972. Dr. Lancaster and his wife, the former Barbara A. Donnelly, recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. In addition to spending time with his three children and six grandchildren, he enjoys reading, golfing, and playing the piano.