The highlight came when Emily's sons, Jeff and Ray Wadlow, unveiled a portrait of their mother.
"It's a testament," said Katie, "to how Emily lived and not how she died."
Nearly a decade after losing her battle to pancreatic cancer, state senator Emily Couric was commemorated Saturday by the dedication of a 150,000 square-foot University of Virginia medical building bearing her name. Headlining the dedication was broadcast journalist Katie Couric, who, several years before losing her sister, lost her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer.
"I have personally witnessed the ravages of this disease and the importance of treating not the disease but the patient and his or her family," said Couric, a 1979 University graduate. Now anchoring the CBS Evening News, Couric has long tried to highlight cancer even letting millions of Americans watch in 2000 as she received a colonoscopy and, five years later, a mammogram.
However, she directed much of the credit for pushing the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center to cardiologist George Beller, her late sister's husband, who convinced the General Assembly to appropriate $25 million of the $74 million cost.
"George was like a dog with a bone," Couric told reporters during a pre-dedication briefing. "He never gave up."
At the dedication ceremony, whose attendees included cancer-surviving UVA women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan, Couric read from a favorite letter by a Union soldier who died at the Battle of Bull Run and talked of her sister's own relentless battles.
"She was consumed not by self-pity," said Couric, "but by a burning desire to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families."
The Center will begin treating patients on April 4.
Correction: The architectural firm of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca designed the building. (The third name was misspelled in one of the captions accompanying this story.)