In the 1970s, Carter turned his talents in a new direction--education. He conducted seminars and workshops at many universities, and spent several semesters at Princeton, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1974. In 1987, Carter spent a week as Visiting Lecturer at Harvard. Other recent honors include induction into the Black Film Makers Hall of Fame (1978), the coveted Golden Score award of the American Society of Music Arrangers (1980), and appointment to the music advisory panel of the National Endowment of the Arts. In 1978, Carter was a guest at the White House, where he led a group at President Jimmy Carter's celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. He also led an orchestra for the 1984 inaugural of President Reagan and played at the White House in 1989 as a guest of President Bush.
In 1982, New York radio station WKCR marked Carter's 75th birthday by
playing his music non-stop for 177 hours. Carter was also saluted at
the 1984 Kool Festival with a retrospective concert. In 1987,
Carter received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His extended work, "Central
City Sketches" (recorded in 1987 for Musicmasters with the American
Jazz Orchestra) was nominated for a Grammy in 1988. Carter placed
first in the 1989 Down Beat International Critics Poll in the
arranger's category. Carter celebrated his 82nd birthday with a
concert in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. He returned a year
later to debut a new extended work. In 1990, Carter was named "Jazz
Artist of the Year" in both the Down Beat and Jazz Times
International Critics' polls.