Princeton University seniors Austin Davis and Ella Gantman are the recipients of the 2023 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. They will be recognized at Alumni Day on campus Saturday, Feb. 25.
The Pyne Honor Prize, established in 1921, is awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the late Princeton President Emeritus Robert F. Goheen.
Davis is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a history major and is pursuing a certificate in urban studies.
Davis has been described by faculty as an exceptional student with a true passion for history and as an advocate for his fellow undergraduates through his work with the Undergraduate Student Government and the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity. He is the first in his family to attend college.
“Austin Davis is a remarkable young man who inspires us,” Professor of History and Associate Chair Margot Canaday wrote in a letter of recommendation on behalf of the department. “He also personifies what we love most about our own discipline: a combination of intellectual rigor and deep humanity. Austin embodies these traits and truly exemplifies the qualities the Pyne Prize was established to recognize.”
Professor of History Alison Isenberg said: “Austin is an exceptional candidate for the Pyne Prize, for his outstanding academic abilities, dedication to the craft of history, and community-engaged work, but perhaps mostly for his generous spirit helping other students succeed.”
“Speechless” is how Davis described his reaction upon learning he won the Pyne Prize. He called the recognition a tremendous honor.
Photo by Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications