HISTORICAL SKETCH. The College is a four-year accredited, liberal arts college that enrolls more than 1500 students. The College is located in Fairfield, Alabama, six miles west of Downtown Birmingham.
The College is a church-related college, founded in 1898 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, now the Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church. The College is still supported by and affiliated with the C.M.E. Church; although, the faculty and student body represent many different denominations. The curriculum is formally and informally undergirded by attention to morality, ethics, and to the perpetuation of Christian Values.
The efforts to start a college began in 1873 with Bishop Miles suggesting that his colleagues and other leaders should select some schools and sites and present to the General Conference of 1874. In 1898, the Alabama Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church established a high school in Thomasville. Two annual conferences of the CME in Alabama, the North Alabama Conference, and the Alabama Conference voted to establish a college and formed a 30-member Board of Trustees who made up the Trustee Board of Miles College. The College is generally considered to have developed from the high school operated at Booker City by the North Alabama Conference. However, it may be considered a merger of the two schools, for the Thomasville High School served as a feeder to Miles College for several years.
In 1903, the Board of Trustees decided to expand the scope of the school’s curriculum by implementing collegiate-level courses. In 1905, articles of incorporation were developed and the Department of State of Alabama was petitioned for charter. It was granted in the name of Miles Memorial College in honor and as a memorial to the first Bishop of the CME Church, Bishop William Henry Miles. In 1906, Miles College graduated the first two graduates. In 1941, the Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Miles College.
It is from this effort in all of its history, from the clay of Thomasville, Alabama, to the vision of the members of the CME Conferences in 1898 that Miles College came to exist on its current campus and to its current stature.
For over 120 years of survival in a difficult environment, Miles College has held steadfast in its goal of providing a quality college education while challenging and molding the minds of future leaders. During our centennial celebration, we observed our rich heritage as Metropolitan Birmingham’s only senior Historically Black College and the impact it has made in the lives of more than 8,000 alumni of Miles College including two mayors of Birmingham, judges, physicians, business leaders, legislators, and teachers.
The College has had fifteen Presidents with the current President, Bobbie Knight serving as the 15th President.
James A. Bray, 1907-1912
William A. Bell, 1912-1913
John W. Gilbert, 1913-1914
George A. Payne, 1914-1918
Robert T. Brown, 1918-1922
George L. Word, 1922-1926
Mack P. Burley, 1926-1931
Brooks Dickens, 1931-1936
William A. Bell, 1936-1961
Lucius H. Pitts, 1961-1971
W. Clyde Williams, 1971-1986
Leroy Johnson, 1986-1989
Albert J. H. Sloan, II, 1989 -2005
George T. French, Jr., 2005-2019
Bobbie Knight, 2019 to present
The College remains open to all qualified persons regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
MISSION STATEMENT: Miles College is a senior, private, liberal arts Historically Black College with roots in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The College through dedicated faculty cultivates students to seek knowledge that leads to intellectual and civic empowerment. Students are transformed through rigorous study, scholarly inquiry, and spiritual awareness, thereby enabling graduates to become responsible citizens who help shape the global society.
VISION STATEMENT: Miles College is an institution of academic excellence whose students, graduates, and faculty contribute to the intellectual and professional vitality of a broader community, exhibit technological sophistication, and value the renderings of art in all its forms. The College serves increasingly diverse students and gains recognition for global partnerships that assure cultural awareness. Student and faculty involvement in international studies and global intelligence will preface the College emerging as a magnet for regional discourse in public policy and global awareness. Academic course offerings will include masters level courses delivered through a variety of pedagogic delivery mechanisms that appeal to a wide range of student needs. The course offerings are a catalyst for continued growth in the number of students served. Miles College functions as the archetype for colleges and universities throughout the United States and global community to engage in the study, discourse, and application of solutions for human problems throughout the world. Students, who engage in the Miles College experience, demonstrate a commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, and service to others through regular gifts to the dynamic academy that Miles College has become.
2013-2018 Strategic Goals:
Strategic Goal #1: To offer a broad range of high quality programs through teaching and learning
Strategic Goal #2: To recruit and retain appropriately qualified and highly effective faculty and staff
Strategic Goal #3: To build programs and facilities to enhance student life
Strategic Goal #4: To provide a sound financial base to support the institution
Strategic Goal #5: Leverage the engagement of education by undergraduate and graduate students seeking a rigorous scholarly experience
Strategic Goal #6: To attract a more diverse campus community
Strategic Goal #7: Transform the campus with new and improved infrastructure, facilities, and technology based instruction and learning
Strategic Goal #8: Will respond to the most urgent needs of local, state, national, and international constituents to foster collaboration and mutually beneficial relationships.