A longtime liberal arts advocate and volunteer leader, Sue worked briefly as an English teacher before stopping to raise her five children. She served as a tutor for more than 40 years and later gave time and energy to the Special Olympics. She was instrumental in forming the Liberal Arts Alumni Council, and she has also served on the Penn State Libraries Board, Alumni Council, and on campaign committees for the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and the Catholic Student Faith Center, which bears her name. Generous philanthropists for decades, Sue and her husband, the late Joe Paterno, established and supported funds across the University. In Liberal Arts, they created the Paterno Family Professorship in Literature and also endowed funds supporting undergraduate and graduate education, the Richards Civil War Era Center, the Paterno Fellows Program, and a scholarship in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies.