Piedmont is a testimony to the vision and great leadership of Dr. Charles H. Stevens, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (1925-28; 1933-72). Dr. Stevens, a man of fervent love for the Bible, was long noted as a “walking Bible” and a pastor with a passion “to teach the Scriptures as they are, to men as they are.” It was this intense desire to share the Word of God that led him to lay the foundations of what was to become Piedmont International University.
In 1945, Dr. Stevens established the Piedmont Bible Institute to accommodate returning war veterans eager to begin long-delayed Bible studies. Classes were held in the educational facilities of his church for a number of years. In response to the recommendation of mission boards and leaders in the field of Christian Education, the Bible Institute enlarged its faculty and expanded its curriculum to include a Bible College in the spring of 1948. The first college students were enrolled in the fall semester of that year.
In 1956, Piedmont Baptist College became an accredited member of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the college continued to grow and new facilities were constructed. Griffith Hall, a residence hall for single men located south of Deeds Hall was built as well as classroom space which was added to Deeds Hall.
Piedmont Bible College: Unique Institution
Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel February 1, 1959
Dr. Donald K. Drake became the second president in 1970. Dr. Drake first came to Piedmont in 1967 as Business Manager after serving in the home office of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. Under his leadership, the missionary aviation program was added to train and prepare missionaries to carry out the great commission through the use of airplanes. The campus continued to grow in 1973 and 1974 with the addition of Lee Hall, a residence facility for single women, and the Chapel-Gymnasium complex adjacent to Griffith Hall.
In 1987, Dr. Howard Wilburn became the third president of Piedmont. He was an experienced pastor and Th.B. graduate of Piedmont, Dr. Wilburn also earned his M.A. and Ed. D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Thanks to Dr. Wilburn’s leadership, Piedmont received accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). Dr. Wilburn expanded the ministry of Piedmont by establishing a graduate division and adding branch campuses in Bangladesh and Egypt.
Dr. Charles W. Petitt was inaugurated as president of Piedmont Baptist College in 2002, and the influence of Piedmont has expanded. Institutional accomplishments 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 launch and 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. The following years saw the graduation of our first Ph.D. student, the graduation of our first candidate for chaplaincy, and consistent growth due to the synergy between our online, on-campus, and graduate degree options. The 2010-2011 academic year saw the largest enrollment in Piedmont’s 65-year history. The increased enrollment led to a reorganization into four distinct schools operating under one university.
Piedmont changed its name to Piedmont International University in 2012 and is composed of the School of Bible and Theology, the School of Ministry, the School of Teacher Education, and the School of Arts and Sciences. As we move into a new century and a new millennium, Piedmont continues its rich heritage of preparing Christian leaders to serve the Lord throughout the world by providing a quality biblical education. Going forward, Piedmont's vision is to build on its rich heritage by growing in influence to become an internationally recognized leader of innovative, Bible-centered higher education for effective ministry in a rapidly changing world.