JOHN NICHOLS DALTON was born in Emporia, Virginia. He received an A.B. degree from the College of William and Mary in 1953 and a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1957, following service in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant. Dalton was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1965. He was reelected three times, and in 1972 was elected to the state senate. Governor Dalton was elected lieutenant governor in 1973. Elected Governor of Virginia in 1977, Dalton chaired the Republican Governors Association and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, the Southern Growth Policies Board, and the Education Commission of the States. He was the 1979 state chairman of the Coastal Plains Regional Commission and 1979 vice president of the Council of State Governments. He served on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Southern States Energy Board and the Southern Regional Education Board. Governor Dalton emphasized improving state government's performance while curbing its growth. He promoted economic development and settled the federal lawsuit requiring desegregation of Virginia's public colleges and universities.