A university spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that Manafort graduated from Georgetown as an undergraduate in the business school in 1971 and then graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1974.
"I had known him when he was a young Republican. He's capable," McPherson said.
During the lead up to the 1976 convention, McPherson worked with James Baker and they were tasked with wrangling up enough delegates to secure Ford the Republican nomination. McPherson said that they actively pursued delegates and kept track of their standing by building relationships with them in the weeks ahead of the convention.
"In the decades since, he’s worked hard at all of this, and he’s played a role in a lot of conventions since," McPherson said.
McPherson, who has since left politics and is the president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, said that he hasn't worked with Manafort since 1980 at the end of Ford's presidency but recalled him being "a competent man."