By Bryan Gallion
For Unwind magazine
Journalist. Designer. Author. Entrepreneur. Terp. Giuliana Rancic, the former host of E! News, holds all of these titles.
Rancic, who is recognized as one of the leading entertainment reporters in Hollywood, had her journalistic start in College Park at the University of Maryland.
“You see such big names out there that came from Merrill, so it’s hard to imagine not being able to get somewhere in the field,” freshman journalism major Julia Lerner said. “Giuliana has accomplished so much since graduating from here, and I’m excited to do the same.”
Becoming a reporter is a lifelong dream come true for Rancic. Following her family’s relocation to the United States from Naples, Italy, when she was six, Rancic recalls being captivated watching NBC4 Washington anchor Barbara Harrison on the local news.
While attending Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, Rancic was not very enthusiastic about education, instead focusing more on socializing than striving for academic achievement.
“I had spent my high school years daydreaming about becoming an anchorwoman, but I never sought any guidance on how to go about achieving that goal,” Rancic wrote in her 2015 memoir Going Off Script. “The University of Maryland had a well-regarded journalism program, but my near-negative GPA and low SAT scores ruled out my chances of getting accepted there.”
Rancic first attended community college, then transferred to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. By the end of her sophomore year, Rancic’s grades made her worthy of acceptance at the University of Maryland’s journalism school. Despite maintaining a B average, Rancic did not feel prepared to pursue journalism after graduating in 1996.
“I had been too caught up in my social life to get an internship or entry-level job at a local TV station like so many of my classmates had done,” Rancic wrote in Going Off Script.
To gain practical experience, Rancic attended graduate school at American University. With both bachelor’s and master’s degrees under her belt, Rancic left for Hollywood with little money and no action plan. After working odd jobs while trying to get her name out there, her tapes finally made their way into the hands of an executive at E! in 2001.
First working as a correspondent, the network promoted Rancic to anchor in 2005 when E! News ratings were at all-time low and the program was nearing cancellation. Ratings rose with Rancic at the helm, and she built the show up to a premier entertainment news source.
This past summer, news surfaced that Rancic would be leaving “E! News,” effective Aug. 10. She will continue to host Live From The Red Carpet, but plans to focus on producing Oxygen’s show Rich in Faith and promoting her clothing line with Home Shopping Network and new wine company, XO, G..
“Knowing that she went here instills more drive in me,” sophomore finance major Fasika Delessa said. “She shows that Maryland is conducive to success.”