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Beth Sauer

It was, perhaps, by chance that Beth Sauer joined the staff at UNC’s School of Social Work.

The year was 1986. She was fairly content with her job as secretary for a heating and air conditioning company. But her employer was struggling financially. A co-worker suggested that she apply at UNC.

The day after her interview, she was offered a job. Twenty-five years later, Sauer, now school registrar, is still serving students, faculty and staff the only way colleagues say she knows how: with a genuine smile and a touch of kindness.

“She’s caring and thoughtful … and is always willing to lend a helping hand,” said Sharon Holmes Thomas, the school’s director of recruitment, admissions and financial aid. “She treats everyone in the school like family.”

Her team spirit and ability to accomplish most any task handed to her are the main reasons Sauer has worked with so many different people at the school during her career. She spent the first few years as an assistant to nearly a dozen faculty members, typing papers and articles, developing charts or transcribing research interviews.

In the early 1990s, Sauer took over as registrar, a position with more responsibility but a role she relished from the start.
“I just love working with students and getting to know them,” she said.

Students also appreciate Sauer’s support. She is quick to offer a strong shoulder to lean on or a piece of candy from the supply she keeps stashed in her office. Such kindness has earned her the “Most Supportive Staff Award” at least a half dozen times during her tenure.

As Sauer sees it, she’s simply doing her job.

“Students often come in and say, ‘Wow, you’re so nice.’ Well, if I wasn’t nice, I might not have a job, so why not be nice? I’m here to help you. I really try to go the extra mile to keep students happy.”

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