Faculty member sits near President, Prime Minister at Tourney

United States President Barack Obama talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron during WKU’s NCAA Tournament First Round game in Dayton, Ohio on March 13. Stephen Lancaster, a WKU faculty member, sat near the two leaders during the game.

Sidney Blanford

Holding dual citizenship and scoring tickets to the WKU vs. Mississippi Valley State basketball game on March 13 made it a “memorable” day for one WKU faculty member.

Stephen Lancaster, a senior desktop support consultant for technical support services at WKU, had the opportunity to sit near the leaders of both countries he holds citizenship in — President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron — at WKU’s NCAA Tournament First Round game in Dayton, Ohio against MVSU.

“I was about ten rows behind them,” Lancaster said. “My colleague and I snuck down to a couple of empty lower-level seats before the game, as it was really hot where our original seats were.”

The offer to go to the game from co-worker Brice Boyer, also a desktop support consultant, was one Lancaster said he had to take.

“I had never been to an NCAA Tournament game, period, let alone one that WKU was in, and when I found out Obama and Cameron were going to be there, I thought it would be cool to see them,” he said.

Born and raised in England, Lancaster said he made the transition to the United States for his wife Kim Lancaster, who he met working at a summer camp in 1999.

“We did the long-distance thing for a year or two, before I decided to apply to WKU and move here for good,” he said.

 Lancaster said he was a student at WKU for four years before becoming a member of the faculty, which he has now been a part of for seven years.

“Not all countries allow dual citizenship, but the UK and USA have an agreement to allow it,” Lancaster said. “I hold both passports but have to travel in and out of the USA on my U.S. passport.”

He said he will be using his U.S. passport for the first time in June as he travels back to England for a few days.

“I know it’s something he has a lot of pride in,” Kim Lancaster said. “He was just sworn in as a U.S. citizen this past summer, and we had a party at the house for him.”

While Stephen Lancaster said he didn’t choose to live in the U.S., he did say he has grown to love it.

“I didn’t really choose to live in the United States per se — it was just where she was,” he said. “And she doesn’t like fish and chips and rain all that much.” 

“To not have to give up his British citizenship means a lot to him and to our family,” Kim Lancaster said.

After her initial hesitation of Steve attending the game, Kim Lancaster said she was happy for her husband after she found out President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron would be in attendance.

“He wanted to go to the game regardless, to support Western,” she said. “It was just like icing on top of the cake when he found out they would be there.

“Not many people have the opportunity to hold dual citizenship. I think it was something that was very cool for him.”

The presence of Obama and Cameron, along with his team playing in the tournament, persuaded him to go.

He said he thought it was a great opportunity not only for him but for the WKU basketball team as well.

“To play in front of two world leaders is something they will never forget,” Stephen Lancaster said. “And to pull off the comeback like they did made it all the more memorable.”