Challenging and Comprehensive College Preparation

Alumni Stories

Cranbrook Schools has an international community of alumni, famous and anonymous, who are actively shaping the world—globally or locally, publicly or quietly. We invite you to meet some of our remarkable alumni by exploring the stories below. Check back often to see what new stories we will be sharing.

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  • James Maas, ’56

    It may have been more than 60 years since James Maas first entered a Cranbrook classroom, but the social psychologist best known for his breakthrough sleep research can talk about each of his teachers as if he were there yesterday.
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  • Shelley Padnos, ’71

    The 3rd generation of the Padnos family has been known to say their business has moved from “junk” dealing, to scrap processing, and now recycling and sustainability. So it goes in the world of recycling, with each generation putting their unique stamp on a family-owned business that is now moving into its 4th generation of leadership.
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  • David Rochkind, ’98

    Photographer David Rochkind has spent years viewing the world from behind his camera. Yet instead of passively cataloging the images he has seen, he has used the power of his images to affect social change.
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  • Trabian Shorters, ’85

    As Vice President of Communities for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Trabian Shorters oversees the advancement of transformational ideas in 26 communities across the country where the Knight brothers once operated Knight-Ridder newspapers.
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  • Cicely Guenther Winter, '66

    When Cicely Guenther Winter first came to Oaxaca, Mexico in 1971 with her archeologist husband Marcus, they thought they would stay for two years. Forty years and four children later, Winter now says, “Oaxaca is home.”
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  • Natalie Zemon Davis, ’45

    Natalie Zemon Davis has always been captivated by the possibilities of social transformation. It began during her days at Kingswood, when her studies in history, literature, current events and ethics began to shape her world view.
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  • Cathy (Sybert) Olkin, '84

    In 2006, Cranbrook Kingswood graduate Cathy Olkin stood near the shoreline in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and watched a spacecraft she helped design begin its ascent to Pluto. It was an experience Olkin doesn’t believe she would have been a part of if not for her early start at Cranbrook.
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  • Clifford Colwell, MD, '55

    In a graduating class made up of two Rhodes scholars and a Heisman Trophy winner, Clifford Colwell thinks he’s hardly a Cranbrook class of 1955 standout. Those in the field of orthopedics would likely disagree. In 2004, he made history by developing and implanting the first electronic knee prosthesis.
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  • Darryl Taylor, '70

    Darryl Taylor can easily sum up his experience at Cranbrook with four words: Skill, Knowledge, Character, and Citizenship. The same words that are etched in stone in front of the school’s Academic Building. “Those four words guided my life and career,” he says.
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  • Jonny Imerman, '94

    When Jonny Imerman comes back to Cranbrook’s campus, it’s not just to visit Page Hall or stop by the Oval. He comes back to show upperclassmen how to give themselves cancer screenings.
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  • Merrill (Mimi) McLoughlin, '62

    Merrill McLoughlin intended to be a doctor. To make ends meet while saving up for medical school, she took a job as a researcher for Newsweek and never looked back.
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  • Paige Smith, '04

    When Paige Smith was in Junior Kindergarten at Brookside Lower School, her teacher sent home a note saying, “Paige spends most of her time in the paint corner or playing dress-up.” Not much has changed. Smith now gets to do both every day through her work as a print designer for Lilly Pulitzer, located just outside of Philadelphia.
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  • Ward Just, '53

    Ward Just was a born storyteller. His father and grandfather were both newspaper publishers, so he was raised with a keen appreciation of the written word. However, his road to success followed a divergent path.
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Notable Alumni

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  • Explore a brief sampling of some of the notable alumni who make up our large, international alumni community.

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Alumni! Help us share more of your stories with the world

Nominate your fellow alumni to be recognized here or elsewhere by emailing us at

What Next?

  • Read the latest Tradition magazine here.
  • Log in to update your contact information today.
  • Email the Alumni Relations office. 
  • Make a gift to support Cranbrook Schools.

More Stories...

List of 5 items.

  • Jay Adelson, Class of ‘88

    Growing in step alongside the digital boom helped Jay Adelson, ‘88, take the reins of the internet when the rest of us were still wondering how to plug in a modem.
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  • Brad Keywell, Class of ‘87

    Brad Keywell is no stranger to innovation and its unique, unbreakable connection to entrepreneurship. He started his first business at the age of 7 and continued to refine his business skills throughout his six years at Cranbrook and later college and law school at the University of Michigan.
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  • Ivan Krstic, Class of ‘04

    Alumnus Ivan Krstic first became interested in questions of security when, in 1997, “I read this paper by Peter Gutmann that details the difficulties of safely erasing data from magnetic media, and it blew my mind."
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  • Ari Schwartz, Class of ‘89

    For most of us, the closest we get to worrying about online security is updating our Facebook settings every couple of months. Ari Schwartz has dedicated his professional life to questions of digital security and privacy.
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  • Tim Westergren, Class of '84

    Tim Westergren attacked one of those big audacious goals when he launched the Music Genome Project® more than a decade ago, a project that would later power the personalization behind Pandora® internet radio, the leading personalized radio service.
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Cranbrook Schools

·39221 Woodward ·Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304
Cranbrook Educational Community admits students and makes its services, activities, and education programs available to students without regard to sex, race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected status as required by state or federal law.

Cranbrook Schools is a private college prep boarding school located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, near Detroit, consisting of three schools; an elementary school with a private preschool, a single gender middle school with a distinct boys middle school and girls middle school, along with a co-ed college prep private boarding high school. Cranbrook is regarded as one of the top private schools in Michigan. Many of Cranbrook’s students attend top universities and colleges.

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