Walther H. Ott was born and raised on a small dairy farm near Hermiston, Oregon. The family began commercial White Leghorn egg production in 1928. Walther came to OSU in 1930 on a Union Pacific 4-H scholarship. He earned his B.S. in poultry husbandry in 1934 and his M.S. in animal nutrition in 1936. He earned his Ph.D. in agricultural and biological chemistry at Pennsylvania State University in 1942 and joined the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research for a career in basic poultry science and developmental animal science research. He became senior scientist in 1974 and retired in 1976. Walther was elected president of the Poultry Science Association in 1971 and named fellow in 1977. He was honored by OSU as a Diamond Pioneer in 1993. He provided funding at OSU for presidential and English scholarships and a professorship in poultry science. At Penn State, he funded medical technology and poultry science scholarships and a professorship in avian biology.