Walter Theodore Federer was born on August 23, 1915 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He received a B.S. in agronomy from Colorado State University in 1939. In 1941 he received the M.S. degree in plant breeding from Kansas State University. His Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from Iowa State University was awarded in 1948. He held the position of Associate Geneticist while working on the Guayule Research Project, USDA, in Salinas, California. While completing his Ph.D. at Iowa State University, he was Associate Statistician in the Agricultural Marketing Service in Ames, Iowa. His next position was as Professor of Biological Statistics in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He was also the Administrator of the Biometrics Unit in the Department of Plant Breeding. He was awarded the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Statistics Chair in 1978, which he held until retirement in 1986, since which he has had emeritus status.
Dr. Federer was Secretary and Program Coordinator for the Eastern North American Region (ENAR) of the International Biometric Society from 1950 to 1953, President-Elect of ENAR in 1959 and President in 1960. He was Chairman and Executive Secretary of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (1965–1972), Book Reviews Editor (1964–1972) and Associate Editor for Biometrics (1972–1976), Associate Editor for Communications in Statistics (1972–1994) and Associate Editor for the Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference (1976–1990). He was a member of national, international, university and government panels and boards, and was a consultant for several international research stations.
Dr. Federer is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (1958), American Association for the Advancement of Science (1962), Royal Statistical Society (1964) and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (1967), and was elected a Member of the International Statistical Institute (1974). He was awarded the Honor Alumnus Achievement Award (1972) and Honored Alumnus Award (2001) by Colorado State University, and the Distinguished Service in Agriculture Award (1988) by Kansas State University.
"A Conversation with Walter T. Federer." Statist. Sci. 20 (3) 302 - 315, August 2005. https://doi.org/10.1214/088342305000000142