Daniel D. Feder was elected ACPA president in 1945. At the time of his election to a two-year term, he was on military leave for service with the U.S. Navy from his position as Executive Officer and Supervisor, Illinois State Civil Service Commission. Feder was almost 35 years of age. He was married and the father of a daughter.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Feder's family moved to Denver, Colorado, when he was three years old. He graduated from East Denver High School in 1928 and attended the University of Denver where he received his A.B. (December 1930, Psychology and Education) and A.M. (December 1931, Psychology) degrees. While an undergraduate he was student manager of debate. Awarded a fellowship in the Department of Psychology, Feder entered the University of Iowa in January 1932 and he served as Research Assistant to 1934 when he was awarded the Ph.D. (Educational Psychology). His dissertation was titled "A Study of Individualized Instruction at the College Level."
Research Associate at Iowa during 1934-35, he was advanced to Associate in Psychology and Personnel during 1935-38. Feder moved to the University of Illinois (1938-42) where he was Assistant Director, Personnel Bureau, and Assistant Professor of Psychology. Also he directed the student counseling service. Following his active duty as Lieutenant Commander in the Bureau of Naval Personnel during World War II, Feder returned to Denver.
At the University of Denver from 1946 to 1961, Feder was Dean of Students, Professor of Psychology, and director of the counseling and guidance program of the Student Personnel Department. He left the field of personnel work to chair the Division of Psychology and serve as a Professor at San Francisco State University until 1963, when he was named Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences for a year. Dean of Academic Planning at San Francisco for the next nine years, he took the position of Dean of Faculty Affairs when it was created in the fall of 1973 and occupied that position until his retirement in 1975.
Feder first became a member of ACPA during 1937-38 when he was an Associate in Psychology and Personnel at the University of Iowa. At the Atlantic City convention in 1938, he was listed as one of three presenters who spoke on Diagnosis at the Wednesday evening, February 23 program. His topic was "Essential Elements of Diagnosis."
Near the close of the second ACPA Business session held on Friday, February 24, 1939 during the Cleveland convention, he made two suggestions to the ACPA Executive Council. One was that the ACPA Research committee begin a service of abstracting current articles in the field of personnel work and distribute the abstracts to members. The other was that ACPA should publish a new journal for research in guidance, counseling, and personnel work.
During 1939-40, Feder served on the Research and Publication Committee and the Nomination Committee for the 1940 election. He was listed twice on the 1930 annual convention program at St. Louis, and he was the first of three speakers on the morning general session of the opening day program, Wednesday, February 21. His session was titled Diagnosis and Counseling. Feder's speech was labeled "Aspects of Student Motivation." Later he chaired the Research in Personnel meeting. At the annual ACPA Business meeting his name was listed by the Nominating Committee and he was voted secretary for a two-year term. He became the ninth person to serve in that position since 1924. When the constitutional question of election of officers was referred to the Executive Council at the first Business session and reconsidered at the second meeting late Friday afternoon, February 23, the motion that was carried to amend the proposed by-laws relative to more democratic procedures in the election of officers included the working proposed by Feder. As secretary, one of his major functions late in 1940 was to conduct the new balloting plan. He prepared the minutes of the two ACPA Business sessions at Atlantic City in 1941 and helped prepare the annual Report of the eighteenth ACPA convention at Atlantic City.
Feder and a colleague from the University of Illinois made a presentation at the San Francisco convention in 1942. Their paper was titled "The Selection and Training of Faculty Counselors." At the Friday afternoon, February 20 Business session in the Mark Hopkins Hotel, President Williamson reported that Feder was elected to a second two-year term as secretary.
In January 1942, Feder was one member of a committee of three who polled the membership on extension of services to members. Suggestions included the need of a regularly issued newsletter or journal. At the Friday afternoon Business session in San Francisco, Feder reported on the negotiations to become affiliated with a national journal to include an annual report supplement and ACPA news.
Feder kept the minutes of the 1942 annual Business session and assisted in the preparation of the annual Proceedings sent to ACPA members subsequent to the convention. The ACPA Executive Council members selected Feder to serve as one of their delegates to the CGPA Board of Representatives during 1942-43. During 1942, Williamson publicly acknowledged to ACPA members the task accomplished by Feder, who "conceived and initiated the plan" to affiliate with EPM and ACPA's official journal. Beginning in the January 1943 issue, ACPA was represented regularly by articles from its members.
While on active duty as Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, Feder kept up his professional work by participating in the CGPA work meetings and the ACPA Business session at the Hotel Biltmore in New York City during January 1943. He was present again at the ACPA Business session on November 19, 1943. With national meetings cancelled as a war measure, the membership voted that the nominating ballot should be considered as the final voting ballot for the 1944 election and Feder was elected ACPA's vice-president. In 1945 he was elected president.
At a meeting of the ACPA Executive Council held in Chicago in December 1945, the Personnel-O-Gram (P-O-G) was created to become a medium of communication to the membership.
The first postwar CGPA annual convention, the first national meeting since 1942 in San Francisco, was held at Columbus in 1947. Originally scheduled in Chicago, the convention was moved to Columbus when Chicago hotels would not assure accommodation of all ACPA members without discrimination. Feder was a key leader in moving the meetings to Columbus. By his insistence, ACPA and CGPA became among the first national organizations to adopt open resolutions against meeting in any city where discrimination was practiced. The four-day CGPA convention began on Friday, March 28, 1947, when common general sessions for all the member groups were scheduled at the Deshler-Wallick Hotel. The convention theme was "Developing the Human Resources of Democracy."
Feder presented his presidential address titled "When Colleges Bulge" at the opening general session Saturday morning. He presided at the annual Business session which followed at 11:00 a.m. The ACPA membership rolls listed 393 members during 1946-47.
Dan Feder's presidential address to CGPA at the 1948 convention in Chicago led to the creation of the study commission whose report led to the formation of APGA. Feder also served as President of APGA during 1960-61.
In May 1968, Feder's hopes for the future of ACPA were:
...That it will become a full 'umbrella' for all related college personnel activities with close ties to the academic establishment continuing to work for greater professionalization in the interests of better student services, and stressing the need for highest possible standards.
In May 1978, Daniel D. Feder died at his home in Newport Beach, California. He was 68 years old. He was survived by his wife, Florence Malbin Feder, a daughter, Roberta, and two grandsons.
Laurine E. Fitzgerald, editor of the Journal of College Student Personnel, described Feder as the "gentle giant" and dedicated all six issues of volume 20 to his memory. Also, a tribute to him was printed in the November issue of ACPA Developments.