Founded in 1952, Alpena Community College began by offering classes at Alpena High School as part of the K-14 school district. The first class of 23 students graduated in June 1954. The current Alpena campus was established in 1957 when 23 acres of land were granted to ACC by philanthropist Jesse H. Besser. An additional 14 acres came from the City of Alpena and the Michigan Department of Conservation. Central Hall (now Van Lare Hall) opened in 1958. Additional donations from Besser have provided a total of 700 acres that now constitute the Alpena Campus.