Christopher C. Carter, the former legislative director of research in the Office of Federal Governmental Relations for the University of California System, has been named associate vice president for government relations at Lehigh.
Carter will be based in Washington, D.C., and will focus on legislative policy issues on the federal level. He reports to Vice President of University Communications and Public Affairs Fred McGrail, who oversees government and community relations efforts. Carter will work closely with Assistant Vice President of State Relations Vito Gallo and Coordinator Linda Kreitz, who comprise the team responsible for federal and state relations, McGrail said.
“Chris brings a great deal of legislative experience, as well as a deep understanding of the higher education landscape,” McGrail said. “We look forward to Chris being able to draw on that expertise in helping support Lehigh’s research efforts and elevating the university’s national profile.”
Carter said he was “thrilled to be joining Lehigh and truly honored to have this opportunity” and looks forward to helping the university “build and capitalize on its relationships with the federal government.”
He added: “Lehigh’s reputation as a premier research university is widely known. Since my arrival, I have been very impressed by the passion of the Lehigh faculty and staff and their dedication to meeting the challenges of tomorrow with creativity and insight.”
As part of his onboarding, Carter says he plans to reach out to different areas of the campus over the next few months. “I want to learn more about how people work and if I can assist them in achieving their goals,” he said. “And I hope people will also contact me, especially if they plan to visit D.C. or if they have questions about federal issues.”
With the University of California, Carter directed the ten-campus system’s federal relations on research policy, with an emphasis on the Departments of Energy, Transportation, NOAA, NASA and EPA programs. In this role, he assisted in building relationships with federal agencies and Congress to achieve a unified university policy agenda, and developed strategic messaging on university initiatives such as carbon neutrality. He served as the principal UC federal relations liaison to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, representing the university on a public affairs committee assisting the Department of Energy national laboratory directors in their interactions with Congress.
Prior to that, he was the associate director of Government Affairs at Princeton University, where he directed federal relations on research policy and budgets, with an emphasis on innovation programs, STEM education, intellectual property and the work of the DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
Earlier in his career, he was an account supervisor for the Los Angeles-based public relations firm Rogers & Associates and served in various legislative roles for U.S. Representatives William P. Baker, Robert K. Dornan and Wally Herger.
He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science.