William Ward was born July 16, 1917, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural journalism in 1940 from Utah State Agricultural College and a master's degree in agricultural journalism and economics in 1941 from the University of Wisconsin.
From 1941 to 1945, he was press chief of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Administration in Washington, D. C. From the USDA, Ward went to Cornell University as a full professor to organize what is now the department of communication arts. While at Cornell he wrote a textbook, "Reporting Agriculture," published by Cornell University Press in 1952.
He headed that department for 26 years, stepping down in 1972 to accept an assignment with the University of Tennessee-India at Bangalore. Other foreign assignments took him into Argentina, Guatemala, the Philippines, Taiwan, Honduras, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Upon returning to Cornell he arranged for half-time retirement, teaching at the university during the fall semester and working abroad during the spring semester.
In 1988, he was appointed professor of communication emeritus, but continues to teach and engage in international activities.
He is listed in "Who's Who in America" and is a member of Sigma Delta Chi, the International Union of Agricultural Journalists, the American Agricultural Editors' Association and the Rotary Club.