John A. Lancaster recently retired as the executive director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the oldest disability grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. NCIL advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the full integration and participation of people with disabilities in society. Currently, Lancaster serves as the treasurer of the board of trustees for Handicap International Federation (HI) and serves on the board of directors of Handicap International, USA. He also serves as a board member of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) as past president. Lancaster serves on the board of the Global Universal Design Commission and the Potsdam (New York) Humane Society.
He served in the federal government as executive director on the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities from 1995-2000, and had been a member of that committee since 1991. From 1981-1987, Lancaster was the director of the office for individuals with disabilities for Governor Harry Hughes of Maryland.
Lancaster received his juris doctor and bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame. As a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he commanded an infantry platoon in combat during the Vietnam War, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in 1968.