Frank Gannett had worked his way through college as a newspaper reporter. Early in his career, he became the owner of several small newspapers, some of them in Rochester. Throughout his life he owned or had partial ownership of over 20 different newspapers.
In 1922, as president of the New York State Publishers Association, Frank Gannett led in the founding of the Empire State School of Printing in Ithaca, New York.
There was a great shortage of trained printers after the First World War. Gannett envisioned a vast program of education and research in the graphic arts field and saw the need to be affiliated with a larger facility. He regarded the Mechanics Institute an excellent technological school, and decided that it would be an ideal place for the printing school to continue its growth. So in 1937 the school was moved, along with 18 students and three instructors.
He was a principal benefactor of RIT and served as a trustee from 1938-1957. In 1952, Frank Gannett was the recipient of the Distinguished Founders Award given by the RIT Board of Trustees, in appreciation of his life of service and achievement.