McCormick, Patrick

Patrick McCormickNASA Langley Research Center
Research Scientist, Retired

Hampton University
Professor of Physics and Co-Director of Center for Atmospheric Sciences

CLASS 1962

Patrick McCormick, Ph.D., loves the sciences—it is a passion he began to cultivate during his time at Washington & Jefferson College. McCormick put that passion to good use for more than 30 years as a NASA scientist and now passes on that knowledge through his teaching at Hampton University. McCormick has published more than 430 papers, journal articles, NASA publications, and books, including 270 refereed journal publications that have earned him international recognition.

McCormick found his niche at W&J in the physics department, where Drs. Bell and Hill encouraged and challenged him and taught him professional research methods. At W&J, McCormick also found fulfillment on the wrestling mat. “The student body support for my wrestling was incredible, as was the support from my coaches and the athletic department,” he recalls.

Upon his graduation from W&J, McCormick sought to make an impact on the world— literally. He received both master’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the College of William & Mary, where he was introduced to atmospheric research. When NASA came calling shortly thereafter, McCormick spent 30 years with the space agency researching the development and application of sensors for measurement in the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as leading a number of successful satellite experiments.

Following his retirement from NASA in 1996, McCormick began his work with the Center for Atmospheric Sciences, where he mentors graduate students, teaches, and conducts research using ground-based and satellite-borne remote sensors. In his spare time, McCormick turns his attention to wrestling, which still remains an integral part of his life, 40 years after participating on the wrestling team at W&J. Today, he works for the National Collegiate Athletic Association as a national officiating coordinator for wrestling, training referees throughout the country and acting as their supervisor at championship meets.

To attain professional success and find personal fulfillment in one’s career, McCormick’s words of advice are simple, yet significant. “Work hard, be prepared, and watch as good things happen.”