Waldo Sylvester Walker was born in Fayette, Iowa in 1931. He received his B.S. from Upper Iowa Univesity and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Iowa. His career at Grinnell College began in 1958 when he was hired as an Instructor in the Biology Department. By 1973 he had assumed the administrative position of Dean and Executive Vice-President of the College and served the College until his retirement in various administrative positions including acting President, Provost, Treasurer, Vice President for College Services and Director of Facilities Management. During his time as Dean he was instrumental in the development of such curricular innovations as the first-year tutorial, faculty writing workshops, and the Writing and Reading Labs.
As Dean of Administration, Mr. Walker's duties included preparation of the annual budget, control of expenditures within that budget, oversight of admissions, and general oversight of the administrative operations of the College (from a letter dated Octover, 1971)