March 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM ET
Ann Curry will mark 15 years with TODAY on Sunday — serving as an anchor for one-fourth of the broadcast's lifespan.
15 of Ann's remarkable moments are listed below in no particular order. Check them out and then vote at the bottom on your favorite.
And then leave a comment congratulating her below!
1) Joining TODAY as news anchor
She had "huge shoes to fill," joked Matt when Ann took over his news desk spot on March 11, 1997.
And fill them she did — for more than 14 years, traveling all across the globe to bring viewers closer to the world we live in.
2) Discovering her Japanese roots
Ann journeyed to her mother's remote Japanese village as part of a TODAY series where anchors traced their roots.
It was bittersweet, as Ann saw relatives for the first time since both her parents passed away. "I'm so grateful to see my family," she told her cousins.
"How proud and pleased your parents would be right now having seen what you did," Matt said. Ann teared up: "I wanted to honor them."
3) Getting a trim for a good cause
Talk about a good hair day! Ann donated more than 10 inches of her mane to Locks of Love in 2006 after her daughter McKenzie encouraged her to get an on-air shear.
TODAY turned the plaza into what Matt called a "high-end salon" — with Katie Couric as a gleeful barber. And with only a few chops, Katie held a year's worth of Ann's hair as a trophy.
Ann was not the only one to go under the scissors. She inspired other plaza-goers to chop their mops as well for the good cause.
4) Broadcasting live from the South Pole
Ann was dispatched to Antarctica in 2007 as part of TODAY's Ends of the Earth series. Drama mounted for days as weather problems delayed Ann and the crew from reaching the South Pole.
She finally made it.
"Just a few moments ago we touched down at the South Pole," Ann proclaimed live via satellite phone in negative 53 degree Fahrenheit temperatures (not counting the wind chill)!
It was the first-ever live network broadcast from the earth's southernmost point, where only about 7,000 people had ever visited. Once there, she proudly marked NBC News' territory on the ceremonial pole!
But in 2007 she revealed the one thing that terrifies her: Telling jokes. After a dare from Meredith, Ann faced her fear and enrolled in comedy school, which required her to perform a stand-up routine in front of hundreds of people.
6) Finding woman missing in tsunami
“My sister ... is missing,” one of Ann's Twitter followers wrote to her after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. “I will do my best,” Ann tweeted back from the devastated region.
Armed with a photograph of the missing teacher and moved by the family's plea, Ann spent hours searching evacuation centers.
And then, good news came. She found the woman and helped reunite her over the phone with her family.
7) Going one-on-one with Ahmadinejad
Ann has traveled twice to Iran — a nation hostile to most foreign journalists — for an exclusive interview with president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In 2009, the leader defended his violently contested re-election; in the 2011 video below, he revealed the news that the imprisoned American hikers would be released “in a couple of days.”
8) Carrying the Olympic torch
Ann ran through the streets of New York City with the Olympic torch as part of the iconic relay before the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games.
But moments before her run, she admitted she was a bit nervous: "What if I drop it?" she said. "What if the flame goes out?" Turns out there was a close call during the jog: She almost tripped over a manhole cover.
Everything turned out fine, and Ann created an unforgettable memory. "Holding this torch and running with it is such an honor," she said.
Ann later raised more than $3,000 for the Salvation Army by auctioning the torch off to the highest bidder.
10) Spotlighting African struggles
Ann has traveled the world to report on dire situations.
In April 2006, Ann interviewed Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their two adopted children in Namibia. The star couple was there to raise money for education in poor nations.
She has also reported extensively from Darfur, Sudan, once joining George Clooney on a trek through the country as the actor worked to raise awareness of the conflict there.
11) Climbing Kilimanjaro
As part of TODAY's second Ends of the Earth adventure in 2008, Ann climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
It was a difficult trek. Because of all the equipment the team needed, more than 100 porters were recruited to assist with the ascent up the most difficult route to the summit.
The team was successful in documenting climate change's effects on the glacier, but turned back from the 19,000-foot peak due to altitude sickness.
“We haven’t had a shower in nine days,” Ann told the anchors in Studio 1A. “It’s getting kind of ripe.”
12) Blushing after Elmo confesses his 'love'
Elmo totally crushes on Ann Curry! The red "Sesame Street" star even wrote a poem for her:
“Roses are red, violets are blue, Elmo loves the TODAY Show and Miss Ann Curry too,” Elmo said.
He also surprised Ann on her 10th anniversary with a song while looking back at their fond moments together.
The feeling must be mutual, as Ann's always a bit speechless around the crimson Muppet. “The only time I saw Ann kind of flummoxed was when she was with Elmo,” Al said.
13) Interviewing the Dalai Lama
Ann met the Dalai Lama outside Studio 1A for his first live morning news show interview in 2010.
The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet said that human beings are becoming more compassionate and have the ability to overcome the world’s problems.
She spoke with him again in 2011 about the importance of spreading his message via social networks and China needing to come to terms with democracy.
14) Jumping off of a bridge for charity
Is there anything Ann won't do for a good cause?
She bungee jumped 120 feet off of a bridge live on TODAY after viewers raised $10,000 for charity.
“If you’re going to do something as crazy and stupid as that, you want to feel it was worth it," she said. "I wanted some good to come out of it, and I think it did.”
She also inspired the awe of Tom Hanks, who watched from Studio 1A before his interview.
“I can’t follow that. I’ve done nothing,” Hanks said. “She is Superwoman as far as I’m concerned! I’m just some goofy actor who pretends to do things. Ann is actually doing it.”
15) Assuming the TODAY co-anchor position
“I’m Ann Curry and I’m in for, I guess, nobody this morning — me, myself and I.”
That’s how Ann started her first day as co-anchor on June 9, 2011 after 14 years at the news desk.
"It’s such a thrill,” Ann said. “I really feel like Cinderella — Ann Curry, aka Cinderella today."
Steve Veres is an editor for TODAY.com. He's worked at TODAY for two years and worries he'll soon be sent off to Antarctica.