Piedmont Baptist College
|Piedmont International University|
|Chancellor||Dr. Howard Wilburn|
|President||Dr. Charles Petitt|
|Provost||Dr. Beth Ashburn|
|Location||Winston-Salem, NC, USA|
|Colors||Navy, Columbia Blue, and White|
Piedmont International University is a private Bible College and Graduate School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Originally called Piedmont Bible Institute (and later Piedmont Bible College and Piedmont Baptist College), the school changed its name in 2012 to its current name to reflect its heritage and expansion. The school is located near downtown Winston-Salem between the historic district of Old Salem and the newly constructed semi-pro baseball stadium. Its current President is Dr. Charles Petitt, a former church planter and missionary to St. Vincent.
Piedmont is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and maintains membership in the American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries, and is seeking accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
In early 1945, Charles Stevens gathered a group of Baptist leaders from across North Carolina at the Evangel Light House in Winston-Salem to discuss the possibility of starting a Baptist educational institution. The following is told of the meeting: “After some discussion one of the brethren, a prominent Baptist leader in North Carolina, rose and made this remark, ‘We already have seven Baptist schools in North Carolina. It is my opinion that we do not need another school.’ To this Dr. Stevens replied, “I agree that we do not need just another Baptist school. We need a school that can be distinctive, committed to perform a definite task.’”
That is exactly what happened. In 1945, Piedmont Bible Schools, Inc. was founded. In September of that year, Piedmont Bible Institute opened on a restricted basis. All of the classes were taught “on Monday afternoon and evening and all day Tuesday. Twenty-two students attended that first year, with four part-time faculty members. The next fall, the fall of 1946, found the school “in full swing,” with six faculty members, of which only N.A. Thompson was full-time.
In its charter, the institution has the capacity to serve as three schools - an academy, Bible institute, and Bible college. From 1945 until 1948 Piedmont Bible Schools consisted of only an academy and a Bible Institute. Also, during this time, satellite classrooms were set. In 1948, two years of junior college were added. From then until 1952 the corporation consisted of the academy, the Bible institute, and the junior college. The academy was discontinued in 1952. The Bible institute and the college continue today, although in slightly different forms. Six years after the closing of the academy it was said, “If and when the demand becomes great enough, the academy will be included again.” However, with the existence of Salem Baptist Christian School (a Christian primary and secondary school across the street) it is doubtful that this will ever be done.
After its incorporation, Piedmont Bible Schools found a host of problems waiting for it. What is to be done about classrooms? What is to be done about housing? A myriad of questions must have been in the minds of those early men and women of Piedmont. The first answer to many questions and prayers came in the form of what is today called Deeds Hall. John M. Deeds, for which the building was named, is described as “a fine Christian and business man, with unusual abilities and leadership, . . . [who has] felt called upon to devote his full time, without salary, to the cause of raising money for the school” (Daybreak, Oct. 1951) This new facility provided initial classroom space, dormitory space for around twenty-five ladies, room for a small cafeteria, a library and offices. The Brietz house was purchased in 1948 and provided dormitory room for 12 or more single men. Trailers also played a major role as “dorm rooms” for the married couples in the early years. Many of the trailer units were old, surplus military trailers. The trailers were known, because of the great percentage of World War II veterans, as “Veterans’ Village." In 1954 the married students were able to move out of the trailers and into the new Stevens Hall. Built beside Deeds Hall, this - and especially the construction of Griffith Hall, a men’s dormitory, in 1966 - brought an end to the trailer era and made room available for a much-needed parking lot. After Griffith Hall was built, the old Breitz home was torn down.
Griffith Hall was named for Earle G. Griffith. Dr. Griffith became affiliated with Piedmont on January 15, 1950 when he took the office of vice-president. He was formerly the president of the Ohio Association of Independent Baptist Churches. For a time, he was also part of the Council of Fourteen which carried out the plans of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. He served as president of Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York, as well as vice-president of the National Bible Institute of New York City. He was also very active in the area of foreign missions in addition to holding several pastorates.
In 1956, Piedmont completed the accreditation requirements of the Accrediting Association of Bible Institutes and Bible Colleges (now The Association for Biblical Higher Education). Their acceptance allowed Religious Education and Theology bachelor's degrees to be awarded, starting in 1957, with the acceptance of the State Department of Education.
1950s to 1980s
In 1958, Bob Jones University awarded Charles Stevens an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his work “as a Bible preacher and teacher, as well as [for] his contributions as an educator through the establishment of Piedmont Bible College.” In the summer of 1962, Dr. Stevens stepped down from the Presidency and was replaced by Carlyle Sanford. After Sanford's brief presidency, Dr. Stevens returned as president in the spring of 1963, while remaining a full-time pastor. Dr. Stevens remained pastor of Salem Baptist Church and President of Piedmont Bible College for approximately twenty-five years, with the only exception being the interval of seven or eight months while Carlyle Sanford was president. After about seven years, Dr. Stevens officially resigned on January 27, 1970, but the resignation did not actually become effective until August 1, 1970. Between the conception of the school and his retirement, Dr. Stevens witnessed much. The school had reached the “200 mark” in the mid-sixties. It had literally been built before his eyes in about twenty-five years. Dr. Stevens resigned as pastor of Salem Baptist on January 9, 1972. Dr. Charles Stevens died, at age 91, on July 16, 1982.
Donald Drake took his place. Drake completed undergraduate work at King's College in New York, later graduating with a doctorate from Wheaton College in Illinois. Dr. Drake helped hone the school’s curriculum, including a special emphasis on missions.
Between 1973 and 1974, Dr. Drake saw the completion of Lee Hall, a dormitory for young ladies, and a second building housing a gymnasium and chapel, called the Pope Activity Center. Grace Hall, the former residence of the Stevens, was acquired by the college in the late 80s. Dr. Drake retired in 1987. He was replaced by Dr. Howard Wilburn.
Dr. Wilburn, as those before him, set definite goals and strove to reach them. One goal realized in 1994 was the founding of a graduate program. Accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) was achieved in 1995. Dr. Wilburn laid the groundwork for two international branch campuses and also oversaw a name change for the school. The new name, Piedmont Baptist College, was a reflection of Piedmont's heritage and distinctiveness. In 2002, Dr. Wilburn stepped down as President to concentrate on his ministry as pastor of Salem Baptist Church and currently holds the title of Chancellor.
2000 to present
Charles Petitt became Piedmont’s fifth president in 2002.
Institutional accomplishments from 2000-2010 include the renovation of most buildings on campus, the doubling of overall enrollment, and the development of several networks and partnerships. An articulation agreement with High Point University allows teacher education majors to complete requirements for North Carolina State Teacher Licensure. A 2004 merger with Spurgeon Baptist Bible College of Mulberry, Florida resulted in the creation of Piedmont’s Spurgeon School of Online Education with several undergraduate and graduate programs available online in their entirety including a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies offered online in Spanish. The accreditation of two international branch campuses in restricted access nations sprang from partnerships with nationals in Asia and the Middle East. A 2008 merger with Atlantic Baptist Bible College of Chester, Virginia led to the establishment of the Atlantic Scholarship for Ministry Training. Foothills Christian College also merged with then Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate Schools in 2010. In 2012 Piedmont officially changed their name from Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate Schools to Piedmont International University.
- "Transnational Association Of Christian Colleges and Schools". Tracs.org. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries". Aaccs.info. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Southern Association of Colleges and Schools". Sacs.org. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Online Education - Piedmont International University". Pbc.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Piedmont, Atlantic colleges to merge this year". JournalNow.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Piedmont International University - Piedmont International University". Pbc.edu. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-02-19.