Alumni Spotlight | Suzy Shober Sauerwald ’88
Suzy Shober Sauerwald ’88
Suzy Sauerwald has many fond memories of Bridgewater College. Her grandmother, mother, father, uncles and cousins all attended BC, and she came to many events on campus throughout her childhood. But she also wanted to attend a school where she would receive a quality education, have a chance to participate in intercollegiate sports and be challenged to be active and social. “I was shy—extremely shy. I wanted to go somewhere I could step away from the perception of how everyone knew me and become the person I wanted to be.”
While at Bridgewater, she played field hockey and lacrosse and participated in numerous clubs, in addition to majoring in history and political science. One of her professors connected her to a friend of his who worked in a law firm as a paralegal. After spending time with her and visiting her law firm, Sauerwald was inspired to follow in her footsteps. “That connection sent me on a career that I still love and do not regret for one moment,” she said.
After her graduation in 1988, Sauerwald headed to paralegal school in Atlanta, Ga. and received her national certification as a paralegal. For nearly two years, she worked in Atlanta at a law firm, working on labor and employment law, as well as some civil litigation. She moved back to Roanoke, Va., in March 1990 and joined the firm Johnson, Ayers & Matthews, where she has worked as a paralegal ever since. She has served as a member of the Roanoke Valley Paralegal Association, including terms as president, secretary and board member.
Sauerwald is also heavily involved with her community and her church. She has coached youth soccer, served on the boards of the local recreational soccer league and a travel soccer league and assisted with her area Girl Scouts. She has volunteered at several community colleges near Roanoke to assist with paralegal instruction and participated in job fairs at the community colleges and in the local area. In addition, she has worked with the youth group at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren for many years.
She credits Bridgewater with bringing her out of her shell and helping her learn who she could be. “I learned many skills—leadership, multi-tasking—due to the educational and social environment Bridgewater provided. My professors and my friends forced me to step out of my comfort zone and become a confident, strong woman,” she commented.
Sauerwald comes back to BC often. She and her family established a scholarship in memory of her grandmother and uncle, the Mary Coffman Bryant and her son Warren Lynn Bryant Endowed Scholarship Fund. Three of her four children have attended BC, Stephen Shumate ’14, Paxton Sauerwald ’15 and Brooke Sauerwald ’18. She is currently a member of the Bridgewater College Family Council.