Ambassador William P. Mccormick

Inducted: 2021
Born: 1939

William McCormick was born in Providence. He attended Roger Williams Jr. College and Boston University while serving honorably in the Army Reserve until 1963. Mr. McCormick moved to San Francisco and worked for Connecticut General Life Insurance Company until 1965. At this time, he became a partner in the Refectory Steak House Restaurant chain. By 1973 the chain had grown to twenty units in seven states and was sold. In 1973 he purchased the landmark restaurant, Jake’s Famous Crawfish in Portland Oregon.

Then he partnered with Doug Schmick and opened the first McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant in 1978. While growing the new chain, he attended the Harvard Graduate School’s Business Executive Management Program. In 2004 McCormick. and Schmick’s went public allowing the expansion of the company to 93 restaurants in the US and Canada, including one in Providence. The chain was sold in 2012.

Throughout his business career Mr. McCormick’s civic and charitable involvement encompassed all aspects of society and its institutions. He provided thousands of pounds of food for the Pasadena, California food bank and 10,000 books for disadvantaged children in Los Angeles County.

He began the Shamrock Run in Portland. For over 44 years it has become the largest participant 15k, 8k, and 5k run in America and has raised millions for charities.

In 1998 McCormick was the co­ founder of the SMART program in Oregon (Start Making a Reader Today). SMART Reading is a children’s literacy nonprofit that serves pupils in Oregon’s highest needs schools. Today there are over 10,000 mentor readers in Oregon.

In 2003 Mr. McCormick earned the Secretary’s Award from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, a result of the fact that each year McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants provided over 17,000 complimentary meals to veterans visiting any McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant on Veterans Day. That tradition continues today.
Mr. McCormick’s philanthropy and love of the arts afforded him the opportunity to serve on the President’s Committee for the Arts & Humanities with Honorary Chairwoman and First Lady, Laura Bush from 2001-2005.

Mr. McCormick’s community and national involvement has included serving on the boards of more than a dozen major Oregon organizations including its Portland Opera, Northwest Mental Health Services, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Portland Police Chiefs Forum (President), St. Vincent’s Hospital Heart Institute, and the Citizen’s Crime Commission (Vice-Chair).

National involvement includes the National Restaurant Association’s Board and its Government Affairs Chairman, Finance Chairman for US Senator Gordon Smith, Bush for President Finance Co-Chair, and Republican National Committee, Finance Committee (Oregon Chairman).

In November 2005, President George W Bush appointed Bill as Ambassador to New Zealand, one of the “five eyes” nations, with a dual post to Samoa. His work furthered the cooperation between the countries, so he received the Susan Cobb Award for outstanding ser­ vice during his three-year tenure.

After his return to Portland in 2009, he co-chaired the Portland Opera Foundation and was successful in raising twenty-seven mil­ lion dollars for that organization.

In 2017, Bill and his wife Gail moved full time to their ranch in Bend Oregon, where they bought the historic Pine Tavern Restaurant. They have 6 children and 9 grand­ children.

Scroll to Top