WINSTON-SALEM,​ ​NC​ ​(September​ ​22,​ ​2017)—​​ ​In​ ​a​ ​move​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​the​ ​rich​ ​heritages​ ​of two​ ​historic​ ​Christian​ ​colleges,​ ​the​ ​Trustee​ ​Boards​ ​of​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​(SEBC)​ ​in Birmingham,​ ​Alabama,​ ​and​ ​Piedmont​ ​International​ ​University​ ​(PIU)​ ​in​ ​Winston-Salem,​ ​North Carolina,​ ​voted​ ​to​ ​approve​ ​a​ ​merger​ ​of​ ​the​ ​two.​ ​The​ ​merger​ ​will​ ​officially​ ​take​ ​place​ ​on​ ​October 31,​ ​2017,​ ​pending​ ​the​ ​approval​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Transnational​ ​Association​ ​of​ ​Colleges​ ​and​ ​Schools,​ ​which accredits​ ​PIU.

The​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​both​ ​universities​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​the​ ​merged​ ​school​ ​has​ ​strong​ ​potential​ ​to​ ​have​ ​far greater​ ​influence​ ​together​ ​than​ ​either​ ​school​ ​could​ ​have​ ​realized​ ​alone.​ ​A​ ​key​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​the​ ​plan is​ ​to​ ​reopen​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​in​ ​Birmingham​ ​as​ ​a​ ​collaborative​ ​campus​ ​of​ ​Piedmont International​ ​University.​ ​Multiple​ ​degree​ ​options​ ​will​ ​be​ ​available​ ​through​ ​a​ ​blend​ ​of​ ​on​ ​campus and​ ​online​ ​courses.​ ​The​ ​current​ ​campus​ ​will​ ​be​ ​sold,​ ​and​ ​significant​ ​funds​ ​from​ ​the​ ​sale​ ​will​ ​be used​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​Smart​ ​Efficient​ ​Blended​ ​Campus​ ​(SEBC).​ ​By​ ​combining​ ​resources,​ ​cutting duplication,​ ​sharing​ ​academic​ ​and​ ​business​ ​infrastructure,​ ​and​ ​utilizing​ ​technology​ ​and​ ​the Internet,​ ​students​ ​will​ ​have​ ​access​ ​to​ ​quality,​ ​accredited,​ ​private,​ ​Christian​ ​higher​ ​education​ ​with ultimate​ ​flexibility​ ​and​ ​truly​ ​affordable​ ​tuition.

The​ ​Smart​ ​Efficient​ ​Blended​ ​Campus​ ​will​ ​be​ ​intentionally​ ​interactive​ ​allowing​ ​local​ ​students​ ​to enjoy​ ​outstanding​ ​faculty​ ​in​ ​face-to-face​ ​traditional​ ​classes​ ​and​ ​have​ ​the​ ​option​ ​of​ ​learning​ ​from great​ ​teachers​ ​who​ ​are​ ​connecting​ ​digitally​ ​from​ ​other​ ​locations.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time,​ ​online students​ ​from​ ​around​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​students​ ​on​ ​other​ ​campuses​ ​will​ ​teleconference​ ​in​ ​live​ ​to​ ​the SEBC​ ​campus​ ​in​ ​Birmingham​ ​when​ ​they​ ​want​ ​or​ ​need​ ​the​ ​classes​ ​offered​ ​there.​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​many advantages​ ​of​ ​this​ ​approach​ ​is​ ​the​ ​elimination​ ​of​ ​duplication.​ ​Instead​ ​of​ ​having​ ​two​ ​of everything,​ ​Piedmont​ ​will​ ​provide​ ​key​ ​services​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Birmingham​ ​campus​ ​through​ ​the​ ​PIU Central​ ​Offices​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Provost,​ ​CFO,​ ​Academic​ ​Deans, Seminary,​ ​Marketing,​ ​Development, Registrar,​ ​Enrollment​ ​Management,​ ​Institutional​ ​Effectiveness,​ ​Human​ ​Resources,​ ​Information Technology,​ ​Online​ ​Education,​ ​Compliance​ ​Oversight,​ ​Business​ ​Office,​ ​General​ ​Administration, Interactive​ ​Library,​ ​etc.​ ​The​ ​Birmingham​ ​campus​ ​will​ ​be​ ​free​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​educating​ ​students​ ​and ensuring​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Southeastern​ ​heritage,​ ​culture,​ ​and​ ​name​ ​are​ ​honored​ ​and​ ​continued.

The​ ​significant​ ​savings​ ​derived​ ​from​ ​this​ ​approach​ ​will​ ​benefit​ ​students​ ​through​ ​affordable tuition,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​Heritage​ ​Scholarship​ ​will​ ​be​ ​established​ ​offering​ ​a very​ ​significant​ ​scholarship​ ​for​ ​all​ ​SEBC​ ​students,​ ​alumni,​ ​and​ ​their​ ​immediate​ ​families.​ ​PIU will​ ​honor​ ​SEBC’s​ ​donors​ ​by​ ​establishing​ ​the​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​Endowment​ ​which will​ ​help​ ​fund​ ​the​ ​Smart​ ​Efficient​ ​Blended​ ​Campus​ ​in​ ​Birmingham.

Piedmont’s​ ​president​ ​Dr.​ ​Charles​ ​Petitt​ ​said,​ ​“This​ ​merger​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​a​ ​marriage​ ​made​ ​in​ ​heaven, because​ ​it​ ​it​ ​pulls​ ​two​ ​wonderful​ ​families​ ​together​ ​and​ ​accomplishes​ ​significant​ ​goals​ ​set​ ​by​ ​each university.​ ​Piedmont​ ​has​ ​a​ ​culture​ ​of​ ​collaboration​ ​with​ ​a​ ​goal​ ​of​ ​expanded​ ​influence​ ​through strategic​ ​partnerships.​ ​Southeastern’s​ ​Board​ ​Chairman​ ​Dr.​ ​Michael​ ​W.​ ​Wesley​ ​shared​ ​four specific​ ​outcomes​ ​they​ ​hoped​ ​to​ ​accomplish;​ ​1)​ ​resolving​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College’s​ ​financial challenges,​ ​2)​ ​ensuring​ ​the​ ​sustainability​ ​of​ ​theological​ ​education​ ​and​ ​ministry​ ​vocation preparation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Birmingham​ ​community,​ ​3)​ ​preserving​ ​the​ ​legacy​ ​and​ ​name​ ​of​ ​Southeastern Bible​ ​College,​ ​and​ ​4)​ ​ensuring​ ​that​ ​the​ ​endowed​ ​funds​ ​would​ ​be​ ​preserved​ ​and​ ​used​ ​in​ ​ways​ ​that honored​ ​their​ ​original​ ​intention.​ ​This​ ​merger​ ​accomplishes​ ​the​ ​goals​ ​of​ ​both​ ​schools,​ ​and​ ​we couldn’t​ ​be​ ​happier​ ​with​ ​the​ ​partnership.”

Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​and​ ​Piedmont​ ​International​ ​University​ ​were​ ​founded​ ​in​ ​1935​ ​and 1945​ ​respectively.​ ​SEBC​ ​president​ ​Dr.​ ​Alexander​ ​Granados​ ​said,​ ​“The​ ​Lord​ ​has​ ​joined​ ​two historic​ ​institutions​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​lasting​ ​contribution​ ​for​ ​the​ ​cause​ ​of​ ​Christ​ ​(James​ ​2:14-18).​ ​We are​ ​honored​ ​to​ ​journey​ ​as​ ​one​ ​(Ephesians​ ​4:4-6).​ ​We​ ​are​ ​united​ ​by​ ​our​ ​Lord,​ ​our​ ​biblical heritage,​ ​and​ ​our​ ​unwavering​ ​mission​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​Bible-centered​ ​higher​ ​education.​ ​We​ ​look forward​ ​to​ ​equipping​ ​students​ ​for​ ​a​ ​life​ ​of​ ​enduring​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​Christ​ ​and​ ​instruct​ ​them​ ​to think​ ​like​ ​Christ,​ ​value​ ​like​ ​Christ,​ ​and​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​Christ​ ​has​ ​called​ ​them​ ​to​ ​serve​ ​in​ ​the​ ​home, church,​ ​academy,​ ​community,​ ​and​ ​marketplace.​ ​To​ ​God​ ​be​ ​the​ ​glory!”

SEBC’s​ ​Chairman​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Board​ ​of​ ​Trustees​ ​Dr.​ ​Michael​ ​W.​ ​Wesley,​ ​Sr.​ ​said,​ ​“The​ ​entire Southeastern​ ​family​ ​was​ ​saddened​ ​when​ ​we​ ​had​ ​to​ ​announce​ ​the​ ​suspension​ ​of​ ​operations​ ​on May​ ​31,​ ​2017,​ ​but​ ​we​ ​are​ ​proud​ ​to​ ​note​ ​the​ ​enhanced​ ​opportunities​ ​that​ ​will​ ​come​ ​to​ ​students with​ ​this​ ​merger.​ ​​ ​We​ ​have​ ​always​ ​believed​ ​that​ ​if​ ​something​ ​is​ ​taken​ ​away,​ ​something​ ​greater must​ ​be​ ​put​ ​in​ ​place.​ ​Future​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​students​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​access​ ​a​ ​broader range​ ​of​ ​course​ ​offerings​ ​and​ ​to​ ​have​ ​available​ ​advanced​ ​theological​ ​degrees​ ​including​ ​the Master’s​ ​and​ ​Doctoral​ ​Degree​ ​opportunities​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​international​ ​exposure.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​momentous day​ ​for​ ​Birmingham;​ ​a​ ​wonderful​ ​day​ ​for​ ​Southeastern​ ​Bible​ ​College​ ​and​ ​an​ ​enjoyable​ ​day​ ​for Piedmont​ ​International​ ​University.​ ​To​ ​God​ ​be​ ​the​ ​glory.”