Growing up in Canton as the son of the late Emeritus Professor of Economics David Richardson, John did not originally consider attending St Lawrence. He enrolled as a freshman at Connecticut College in the Fall of 1998. After spending two years at Connecticut College, John transferred back to SLU following a neck injury suffered during a lacrosse game. While his original intention was to spend a semester at SLU while he recovered, he loved being back home and enjoyed the SLU experience so much that he decided to stay and pursue his degree at St. Lawrence.
While at St. Lawrence, John was an Economics and History major. He also enjoyed taking Anthropology classes from Dr. Ali Pomponio. Outside of the classroom, John balanced his time working under Jodi Canfield as the assistant women's lacrosse coach and part time delivery boy at Sergi's Italian Restaurant. During his Senior year, John was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was the recipient of the John W. Hannon '44 Honors Award in Economics and the Class of 1934 Scholarship Award in History. John was also a Faculty Scholar, a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon and was an International Economics Honorary Member. He graduated summa cum laude in 2003.