Graduated from high school, Luverne. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Colby College, 1954. Doctor of Laws (honorary), University Maine, Bates College, 1968.
Doctor of Letters (honorary), Anna Maria College, 1976. Doctor of Letters (honorary), Clark University, 1977. Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Husson College, Bangor, Maine, 1979.
Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), University New England, 1983. Doctor of Science (honorary), Maine Maritime Academy, 1987. Doctor of Letters (honorary), Bowdoin College, 1988.
Master of Philosophy in Human Ecology (honorary), College of the Atlantic, 2000.
Wiggins" first job in journalism was as reporter for the Rock County Star in Luverne, Minnesota immediately out of high school. In 1925, at the age of 22, he borrowed $10,000 and bought the newspaper. In 1930, he moved to Saint Paul to become an editorial writer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and later served as Washington correspondent before becoming managing editor in 1938.
During World World War II, Wiggins served in Army Air Corps intelligence.
While serving in the army, he met Philip Graham who would later become publisher of The Washington Post. Graham made Wiggins managing editor of The Post in 1947 and promoted him to executive editor in 1955.
One of his first acts as editor was to end racial identification in news articles He was president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1959-1960.
Wiggins took over the Post"s editorial page in 1961.
President Lyndon Johnson appointed Wiggins United States. ambassador to the United Nations in 1968 to 1969 during the Lyndon Johnson presidency. In 1969 Wiggins received an Doctor of Laws from Bates College. After his tenure as ambassador, Wiggins moved to Brooklin, Maine where he became editor and publisher of the The Ellsworth American of Ellsworth, Maine.
Served to major United States Army Air Force, 1943-1945. Air combat intelligence officer 1943-1944, Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. Member American Society Newspaper Editors (past president), American Antiquarian Society (president 1969-1977), Sigma Delta Chi.
Clubs: National Press, Cosmos, Gridiron (past president) (Washington). Lodges: Masons.
Married Mabel E. Preston, February 8, 1923 (widowed October 1990). Children: William James (deceased), Geraldine Wiggins Thomssen (deceased), Patricia Wiggins Schroth, John Russell (deceased).