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University seniors Parton, Pecsok named Pyne Prize winners

John “Newby” Parton ’18 and Maggie Pecsok ’18 have been named the recipients of the University’s 2018 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize.

Parton is a former head opinion editor for The Daily Princetonian.


The Pyne Honor Prize is the highest general distinction that can be conferred to an undergraduate. The award was established in 1921 and is given for exemplary character, scholarship, and leadership. 

Parton is a Wilson School concentrator with certificates in values and public life and urban studies. He is from McMinnville, Tenn., and previously received the 2016 Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence. He was one of four graduating students selected for the 2018 Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative, which is designed to support and prepare students for future careers in the U.S. federal government. Parton intends to pursue a joint MPA/J.D. and a career as a civil rights attorney, and he eventually wishes to become a judge.

Pecsok is concentrating in psychology with a certificate in cognitive science. She is originally from Virginia Beach, Va., and received last year’s Howard Crosby Warren Junior Prize in Psychology. She is a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, a group of juniors and seniors dedicated to humanistic inquiry who meet monthly with distinguished faculty and guests. Pecsok plans to research multiple sclerosis for two years with Yale University’s neuroimmunology department and then to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.

Famous alumni recipients of the award include University President Emeritus Robert F. Goheen ’40 GS ’48, former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes ’54, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76.