History Senior Shaun Cason '23 Awarded Sachs Scholarship

Written by
Emily Aronson, Office of Communications
Jan. 20, 2023

Princeton seniors Shaun Cason and Anna Allport and University of Oxford student Isabelle (Izzy) Stuart have been named recipients of the Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960 Graduating Scholarship, one of Princeton University’s highest awards.

Cason has been named as the Sachs Scholar at Worcester College at the University of Oxford. Allport has been named as the Sachs Global Scholar and Stuart, currently at Worcester College, as the Sachs Scholar at Princeton.

The Sachs Scholarship is intended to broaden the global experience of its recipients by providing them with the opportunity to study, work or travel abroad after graduation. It was established by classmates and friends of Daniel Sachs, a distinguished Princeton student athlete in the Class of 1960, who attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Sachs died of cancer at age 28 in 1967. The award is given to those who best exemplify Sachs’ character, intelligence and commitment, and whose scholarship is most likely to benefit the public.

Shaun Cason

Cason, Class of 2023, is the first decorated military veteran and the first Princeton transfer student to receive the Sachs award. Before attending Princeton, he served for 15 years in Special Operations in the U.S. Marine Corps. Cason was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and received numerous commendations, including the Purple Heart.

Cason transferred to Princeton after earning an associate’s degree from Coastal Carolina Community College. He is majoring in history, with a particular focus on how the medieval history of Byzantium and the Middle East reverberates through modern social and political climates.

At Oxford, he plans to pursue master’s degree in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Ultimately, Cason hopes to complete a Ph.D. and become a professor who can also serve as a mentor for veterans and non-traditional students.

“It means a tremendous amount to be recognized and to receive such an amazing opportunity,” Cason said of the Sachs Scholarship. “There is tremendous value in having and supporting veterans in higher education. I am humbled that I can be the first to receive this prestigious award and I hope this leads to many more opportunities for the veterans that follow me.”

Cason served in a number of leadership roles throughout his time in the Marines and was recognized for his professionalism and valor on many occasions. He said it was his military experiences abroad that sparked his interest in studying history and becoming an academic leader.

“I started to create the lens that I would see the world and how I could interpret the past,” he wrote in his application essay. “But more importantly, I began to truly understand the importance of education. I realized how important understanding the past is for understanding the present and the future. I learned you cannot fully engage with the present and solve its problems without placing it in the correct historical context.”

At Princeton, Cason said he’s also been dedicated to improving collegiate experiences for veteran and non-traditional students.  

“Since embarking on my own academic journey, I have become heavily involved in improving representation of veterans and non-traditional students in higher education, especially elite academic institutions,” he said. Cason is a mentor and tutor with Service to School and the Warrior Scholar Project, as well as director of advocacy and board member for Princeton’s undergraduate veteran organization.

Professor of History Helmut Reimitz called Cason a “top notch academic” and “truly wonderful person.”

“With his social intelligence, empathy, enthusiasm and not least his wonderful sense of humor he always manages to bring his skills and qualities in conversation with the interests and skills of the people he is working with, be it his classmates, his teachers or other partners in the projects he is involved,” Reimitz said in his letter of recommendation. “In short: Shaun is a brilliant upcoming academic, who has already proven his academic excellence, intellectual originality and his leadership in many different contexts.”

Read more at News at Princeton.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Cason