Paul David Sehnert, director of real estate development in FRES, passed away on May 19, at home with family and friends. He had bravely battled cancer since 2017. He was 63.
He was born in Midland, Texas and was raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Lima, Ohio.
Mr. Sehnert graduated from Shawnee High School in Lima before studying architecture at the University of Cincinnati, graduating with highest honors in 1979. Upon graduation from UC, he started his career with the City of Cincinnati and the City of Denver in their Urban Design departments. Based upon demonstrated talent, he was admitted with a Fellowship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned a MArch, MSRED degree in 1988 in MIT’s Real Estate Development program. Following MIT, he worked at Halcyon Partners, and then Ernst & Young as senior manager based in Connecticut.
He joined the University of Pennsylvania as director of Real Estate Development in 2000. He also served as an adjunct lecturer and instructor at PennDesign in real estate design and development, and from 2009 to 2012 as a lecturer for investment and finance for the department of city planning. Mr. Sehnert drew great strength from mentoring students and challenging them to expand their knowledge in the real estate profession, according to Anthony Sorrentino, assistant vice president, Office of the Executive Vice President.
Mr. Sorrentino described Mr. Sehnert as “an integral part of the Penn community who contributed his expertise in architecture and real estate finance in dozens of projects developed by the University including the innovative Pennovation project. His legacy at Penn is his tireless contribution to Pennovation with its unique design and focused mission as a technology incubator for Penn. As Penn’s model for large-scale urban redevelopment became the national gold standard in higher education, Paul was known and respected as a leading thinker in design and finance within the real estate business. Paul was considered a natural teacher among his students and colleagues and earned a trusted reputation as a gentleman dealmaker with a collaborative spirit,” Mr. Sorrentino added.
He also volunteered his time as chairman of the Community Design Collaborative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods through architecture.
Mr. Sehnert is survived by his sons, Joshua Paul and Benjamin David; sister, Barb Lange (Eric); brothers, Steve (Carol) and John (Jean); as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Special recognition of important contributors in his life include the Rev. John Francis and his wife, Emmy, and special friend Barbara Delacato.
FRES is hosting a Memorial Service, open to all, on Friday, May 31 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Inn at Penn.
A Service of Remembrance will also be held on Saturday, June 1 at 1 p.m. at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill.