Paul De Sena

Message from the President
March 17, 2020

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Paul De Sena, professor of counselor education for 53 years and a member of the Faculty Senate, died March 14, 2020, of heart disease. He was 83 years old.

The renown of LMU School of Education’s counseling program was built on the transformative work of Professor De Sena. He began his impactful career at LMU in 1966 as an assistant professor of counselor education after serving as a professor and administrator at John Carroll University, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio University, and the Berlin Connecticut School District. He was promoted to associate professor in 1969, then professor in 1976. He served as chair of the Department of Education, before the School of Education was established, from 1983-91. Professor De Sena served terms as coordinator of LMU’s Counselor Education Program, coordinator of the School Psychology Program, and since 2007 had been coordinator of field work experiences and internships.   

Professor De Sena was also a model of civic engagement: He served as a consulting school psychologist for the El Segundo School District from 1979-92; was a consultant to the state Department of Education Adult School Counseling Academy; and since 1992 was a consultant for designated instructional service for the Wiseburn School District in El Segundo.

He was highly respected in his field and a distinguished scholar and was published widely. Professor De Sena was a nationally Certified School Psychologist and credentialed school counselor and K-12 teacher; he was past president of the California Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors; he was former president of the California Association for Specialists in Group Work; and he served on the board for the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure, which was successful in bringing licensure for professional counselors to California in 2009. He served on the executive council and the educational foundation board of the California Counseling Association and was on the governing board of the California Association of School Counselors.

Professor De Sena received the LMU Rains Award for Excellence in Service in 2014, was presented the H.B. McDaniel Award by the California Association for Counseling and Development, and a year later he was given the Clarion Modell Distinguished Service Award. He was the first person to win both awards. He was also awarded the California Adult School Counselors Association Service Award, the Outstanding Mentorship Award by the Western Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, and the Outstanding Service Award by the California Association for Counseling and Development.

Professor De Sena earned his Ed.D. in counselor education and higher education from Penn State in 1963, his M.Ed. in counseling and guidance from the University of Hartford in 1960, and his B.S. in elementary education and psychology from Central Connecticut State College in 1958. 

A celebration of Professor De Sena’s life will be held at a later date.

Please keep Paul, his wife, Margarita, his family, and his many friends and admirers in your prayers. 


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.