Paul David Sehnert, 63, director of real estate development at the University of Pennsylvania, died May 19 of cancer at his home in Erdenheim.
Sehnert was also an adjunct lecturer and instructor at Penn Design in real estate design and development, and, from 2009-2012, a lecturer in investment and finance in the university’s Department of City Planning.
An integral part of the Penn community, he 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 was his tireless contribution to Pennovation with its unique design and focused mission as a technology incubator. He also was widely known and respected as a leading thinker in design and finance within the real estate business.
Born in Midland, Texas, and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Lima, Ohio, he graduated with honors in architecture from the University of Cincinnati and began his career in the urban design departments of the City of Cincinnati and the City of Denver. He received a fellowship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned master’s degrees in architecture and real estate development.
Before coming to Penn in 2000, he worked at Halcyon Partners, and later at Ernst & Young as senior manager based in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sehnert was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill and was a member of the church Vestry. He also served as chairman of the Community Design Collaborative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Philadelphia neighborhoods through architecture.
He is survived by his sons, Joshua Paul, of Seattle, Washington, and Benjamin David of Philadelphia; a sister, Barb Lange, of Albion, Michigan; brothers Steve Sehnert, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and John Sehnert, of Dallas, Texas. Sehnert’s wife, the former Susan Dean, died in 1999.
A service of remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in the sanctuary of Saint Paul’s Church, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., with a reception following in the Parish Hall. Memorial donations may be made to the charity of the donor’s choosing. Interment will be in St. Paul’s Columbarium.