John Hanchette, a native of Watertown, N.Y., graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 1964 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. In 1988, he received an honorary doctor of letters from St. Bonaventure. In 1998, he returned to the university and served as a Lenna Visiting Professor.
His successful reporting career spanned more than three decades. He was a founding member of USA Today. His career began in 1964 with the Niagara Falls Gazette. He left to work with The Buffalo Evening News but returned in 1974 as managing editor of the Gazette (a Gannett newspaper).
In 1977, he moved to Gannett News Service as Florida bureau chief. He became a Washington correspondent in 1981 and was named the News Service's managing editor later that year. In 1988, he became managing editor of The Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock. He returned to Gannett in 1992 as a national correspondent until his retirement in 2001. During his Gannett years in Washington, he covered the White House under the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.
His successful career earned him numerous awards that include a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his part in a Gannett News investigative series uncovering the financial dealings of the Pauline Fathers. He was nominated eight other times for this award. Other awards include the Westinghouse Award for science writing, two John Hancock Awards for financial writing, two Silver Gavel Awards for best legal writing, two investigatie Reporters and Editors Awards and the Best of Gannett awards in 1985 and 1996.
He returned to his alma mater in 2002 to teach courses such as Introduction to Mass Media, News Writing I and II, Media Ethics, Politics and Economics of the Media, and Feature Writing.