Maureen Orth is an award- winning journalist, a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair and author of two books. Her best-selling, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History will be the basis of season two of FX’s ten-part series, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianna Versace to begin broadcasting in January, 2018. Maureen began her love of Colombia as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Medellin where she built a school the community named for her: Escuela Marina Orth. In 2005, at the request of the Secretary of Education of Medellin who asked her to empower the children in her school to become competitive in the 21st century, she founded the Marina Orth Foundation. It has since grown to include twenty-one public and charter schools offering computers for every child K-5, STEM, English and leadership training including robotics and coding. In 2015, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos awarded her the Cruz de San Carlos, Colombia’s highest civilian award for service to the country. She also was awarded the McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian of the Year Award from Refugees International.
“Marina”, as she was known to her villagers, began her career as one of the first women writers at Newsweek in the early 1970s where she wrote 7 cover stories on entertainment and pop music idols such as Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. At Vanity Fair she has written profiles on everyone from Margaret Thatcher and Madonna to Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel. Her acclaimed investigations into the charges of pedophilia against Michael Jackson and Woody Allen went viral on the internet. She has also published investigative pieces on Afghanistan’s opium trade and the hostages of FARC guerrillas. Her December 2015 cover story on the Virgin Mary, the World’s Most Powerful Woman, was the best-selling cover for National Geographic Magazine in 2015.
Maureen is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, in Political Science and also UCLA in Journalism and Documentary Filmmaking. She serves as a Trustee of the UC Berkeley Foundation and on the College of Letters & Science. In 2016, she was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Cal Alumni Club of Washington D.C. In 2017, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco.