Each spring, the Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an alumna and alumnus who has brought honor and distinction to herself/himself and to Cranbrook Kingswood through career achievement, public service or contributions in other areas. This year’s recipients serve as inspiration to all in the talents and passions they bring not only to their careers, but in the active role they take in the social causes in which they are involved. Actress Selma Blair ’90 and investment entrepreneur Michael Acheson ’80 have been named our Distinguished Alumni for 2020.
Actress Selma Blair has been a familiar face on screens both large and small for more than two decades with roles in more than 50 films (Hellboy, Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde and Storytelling) and more than 30 TV series (Anger Management and American Crime Story). After earning a degree in photography from the University of Michigan, Blair went to New York to pursue a career behind the camera. Instead, a series of acting classes resulted in her discovery by an agent and launched her career as a performer. Blair also has held a lifelong interest in fashion and considers her work alongside legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld a highlight of her career. Following a 2018 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Blair has helped raise awareness surrounding the illness and is continuing to pursue a range of creative projects.
A venture capitalist and committed philanthropist, Michael Acheson goes all in on the programs he supports. For more than 20 years, he has served as managing director of Interlaken Capital LLC, a private investment firm he launched to help fledgling firms in all aspects of corporate development. As a board member and donor, he has applied his business acumen to assist numerous nonprofit organizations throughout southeastern Michigan, focusing primarily on programs that help underprivileged children in Detroit. These include Math Corps, which empowers children through mathematics, as well as City Year, Detroit Public Television, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, Cranbrook Schools and Cranbrook Institute of Science. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.