Richard T. McCormack was educated at Georgetown University, receiving a B.A. in 1963. He then attended the University of Fribourg, receiving a Ph.D. in 1966.
After graduate school, McCormack initially took a job on the staff of the Peace Corps. In 1968, he joined Philco-Ford as Director of Operations Research for South Vietnam. In early 1969, Mr. McCormack served as special assistant to former Governor of Pennsylvania William Scranton at the Intelsat negotiations at the United States Department of State. That same year he joined the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving in a number of capacities, including as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization. He was largely responsible for drawing up the plans that created the White House Council on International Economic Policy. He left the Executive Office of the President in 1971, but remained a consultant to the White House Council on International Economic Policy. He spent 1974 as Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Economic Affairs. He then served as a consultant to the White House Office of the Special Trade Representative, where he analyzed potential international commodity agreements.