CCA 70th Anniversary Open House | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by MJ Smith Director of Public Information and Marketing Jay Walterreit and Sue Fitzpatrick listen intently to Joseph Rybarczyk (right) discuss video of his campus tour in the new Fitzpatrick Lecture Hall.

ALPENA — On Saturday, Alpena Community College opened its doors to the public in honor of its 70th anniversary.

Members of the community joined alumni, current students, staff and faculty outside the Besser Technical Center as Mary Eagan, Director of Alumni Relations, kicked off the celebration with a speech.

“Today is as much about celebrating community as it is about celebrating college,” Eagan said.

President Don MacMaster reiterated ACC’s mission to honor and connect with the community in his subsequent address.

“The college is the most important resource this community has,” he said.

News Photo by MJ Smith Dr. Donald L. Newport (right) and former ACC President Dr. Olin H. Joynton (left) accompany President Don MacMaster (center) at the cut cake at the Alpena Community College Open House.

MacMaster then welcomed special guest Kelly Lively, representing Senator Gary Peters, who was there to present a Certificate of Special Senatorial Recognition on his behalf.

“ACC’s dedication and focus on student learning, delivered by quality faculty and staff, has created generations of success – which we can be proud of,” Lively said.

The rest of the celebration included a cake-cutting led by MacMaster and campus tours, aided by the Thunder Bay Transportation Authority, which provided shuttle service for attendees around the college grounds. The Hypnotones, a local jazz band, performed at the Granum Theater, located in the Donald L. Newport Center.

Since its opening in 1952, the ACC has undergone many changes. In addition to the extensive renovation of Van Lare Hall in 2021, construction of the Fitzpatrick Lecture Hall began the same year.

This project was made possible by Tim and Sue Fitzpatrick, who donated $1.45 million to bring the vision to life. Their goal was to help students pursue the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Sue Fitzpatrick described the new conference room as “part of the puzzle” to assess what was missing from the program.

“Trades are so essential to this community,” she explained.

An integral part of the build was the installation of a high quality video wall to facilitate remote learning. Its capabilities were demonstrated by the screening of a virtual campus tour video, produced by local videographer Joseph Rybarczyk.

Saturday’s open house was just the start of this year’s celebration. Those interested in learning more or joining in the celebration are encouraged to check the college website frequently for announcements and upcoming events.

More renovations are also on the horizon for the ACC, with the Charles R. Donnelly Natural Resource Center on the agenda. Additionally, there are plans to expand on-campus housing as student numbers increase.

“Let your imagination run wild with what the next 70 years will bring,” said Brenda Herman, Executive Director of the ACC Foundation.


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