Educational Counselor Paula Sue McCommons '88 Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Paula Sue McCommons, Ed.D., L.P.C. considers one of her most important career accomplishments to be the relationships she has formed in the pursuit of helping youth at risk, assisting school communities impacted by tragedy, and empowering caring adults to embrace their role in prevention efforts. Paula earned her M.Ed. in Educational Counseling and later her Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. 

She is a nationally certified counselor with specialties in school and career counseling, a Pennsylvania-certified school counselor, and a post-secondary student personnel specialist. Paula has served as a behavioral health liaison for the Allegheny County Student Assistance Program (SAP) provided by Allegheny County and UPMC-Western Behavioral Health since 1994. Her role includes providing SAP services to K-12 students in two school districts and acting in a supervisory capacity for four school districts. Since 2010, Paula has also served as the director of STAR (Services for Teens At Risk) Center Outreach. The program combines clinical and outreach services designed to combat the problem of child and adolescent suicide. 

She served on the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative (PAYPSI) and assisted with the development of state-wide symposiums, conferences, and legislative initiatives. One of which includes Act 71, which required school districts to develop comprehensive suicide prevention plans. Paula has assisted her STAR-Center colleagues in providing technical support for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-sponsored Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grants for Pennsylvania.

The Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award is one of the highest honors given to a Seton Hill graduate. Since establishing the award in 1987, Seton Hill has honored more than 300 Setonians as distinguished alumni. The award recognizes leadership in education, business, science and technology, the arts, volunteerism and philanthropy.