Written by: Peter Friesen
For the past twenty-two years, Sue Bauer has had a positive impact on everyone she has worked with. It’s hard to find someone that has anything negative to say about her or someone Sue doesn’t have high praises for. Not only has she been the best possible Executive Assistant to University Unions, but a great friend to everyone she has encountered.
Sue is always walking the halls of Madison Union greeting others because she is constantly ensuring that her six departments and the JMU campus are running smoothly. Sue’s close proximity to University Unions Director Dave Barnes allows her to work on many of the same assignments he does within the department. She also gets the opportunity to work on special assignments outside of her job description. Over the years, Sue created a unique memorial service for students who have passed away while attending JMU. She communicates and organizes services for JMU students to come and share their grief while remembering their friends and classmates who are no longer with them. No one asked Sue to do it, but she saw that someone should and that was enough for her.
She has her work inside and outside her department cut out for her, and she does it well, but business is never the first topic of discussion for Sue. Her priority is how the person in front of her is doing. After catching up, she brings her prepared knowledge and expertise to the table to ensure the task at hand is completed to perfection. Last year, during a busy time, she stayed until 9pm to see everything for the All Together One Awards was completed. This is not an uncommon occurrence for Sue. She often puts others and her work before herself, which is why she won the All Together One Award in 2007.
Through her role at University Unions, Sue works with many students. Office Team Manager and junior nursing major Riley Stanton described her as a “role model that makes time for everyone.”
Riley will never forget her initial interview freshman year. She was nervous for her first formal job interview and didn’t know what to expect. When Sue offered her a “sandwich for the road,” Riley was not sure what the proper response should be. Sue saw the hesitation and insisted Riley take one. This kind of human understanding and compassion is what makes Sue a great role model and friend to work with.
Sue makes the gears within University Unions run smoothly, but she believes University Unions is still perfect without her. Sue’s favorite part of the job is, “all the people I come in contact with. The people that I’ve met and how I’ve interacted with them. I love every single one of them.”
After she retires, Sue will miss all the people she has worked with, but plans to start teaching piano again, travel with her husband, and help other people. She also plans on writing more poetry, a newly found love of hers.
It’s hard to find the perfect job, but Sue managed to do it. The people are supportive, and the work is rewarding and instructive. Some people spend their whole lives searching for that experience, but Sue says she “found it and never wanted to leave. I found home.”
Now, as Sue moves on to the next stage in her life, she must say goodbye to the home she found, and we must say goodbye to her. There will not only be big shoes to fill within the University Unions department, but within all of Madison Union and the JMU campus.