Ceramist and painter Walter (Walt) Drohan was born in 1932 in Calgary, Alberta where he attended Western Canada High School. He went to the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) where he studied under the well-known Alberta ceramist Luke Lindoe, later doing graduate studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Flint, Michigan. He added to his knowledge of stoneware technique acquired in Alberta and Michigan with a trip to Germany where he learned to work with porcelain. Returning to Canada in 1957, he took up employment at Ceramic Arts, which had been established by Lindoe, and shortly after began teaching at the Alberta College of Art (ACA), assisting in the establishment of the college's ceramics department. In addition to ceramics, he also taught painting, drawing and printmaking. His teaching career at ACA was interrupted by a study trip to Europe that was facilitated by a Senior Canada Council Grant. He continued teaching at ACA upon his return and eventually served as college Dean.
Through his career at ACA, he had a strong influence on a generation of ceramists in the province, including Harlan House, Les Manning, Leopold Foulem, Garry Williams and many others. He was instrumental in establishing the autonomy of the ACA from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1985. Upon his retirement from the College, he and his wife Pat opened Jumping Pond Studios in Cochrane, Alberta.
As an artist, Walter Drohan received many awards, including election to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1976, and was included in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Canada. He did not limit his art interests to ceramics but was an accomplished painter as well, focusing primarily on depictions of the Alberta landscape. His commissions include works for the Museum and Archives Building in Edmonton, the Federal Building in Wetaskiwin and Central Memorial High School in Calgary.