Piedmont International University is a testimony to the vision and leadership of Dr. Charles H. Stevens, former pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. 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 September, 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 Salem Baptist Church for a number of years.
In January, 1947, the Institute was officially chartered, and, under the direction of the Board of Trustees, plans were formulated for the enlargement of facilities and equipment. John M. Deeds Hall was the first major project to be completed in accordance with these plans.
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 Bible College became an accredited member of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges, remaining affiliated with that organization until 2002. Although independent in operation, the institution is Baptist in polity and doctrine, premillennial (pretribulational) in interpretation, evangelistic in practice, missionary in emphasis, and compassionate in spirit. In addition to these tenets, the standards of Christian conduct call for a life of devotion and consistent separation unto God from the world.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, the College continued to grow. New facilities were constructed, including Griffith Hall, a residence for single men located south of Deeds Hall. Classroom space was also added to Deeds Hall.
Dr. Donald K. Drake became president in 1970, succeeding Dr. Stevens who had served as president since PIU's founding. Dr. Drake arrived in 1967 as Business Manager after serving in the home office of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. An expanded emphasis on international missions characterized his presidency. 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 succeeded Dr. Drake as president. An experienced pastor and Th.B. graduate of PIU, Dr. Wilburn also earned his M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Under his leadership, the institution was accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, and in August, 1994, the first graduate class was offered. Piedmont International University also began offering classes in Bangladesh.
Dr. Charles W. Petitt was inaugurated as president of Piedmont Baptist College in 2002, and the influence of PIU has continued to expand significantly. The merger, in 2004, of Piedmont Baptist College and Spurgeon Baptist Bible College in Lakeland, Florida, has created a world-class online education program – the Spurgeon School. In conjunction with the establishment of the Ph.D. program in 2006, Piedmont Baptist College experienced a name change, becoming Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate School. The fall of 2008 saw the launch of the online Spanish M.A.B.S. Also in 2008, Atlantic Baptist Bible College in Chester, Virginia, merged with PIU, establishing the Atlantic Scholarship for Ministry Training and assisting Piedmont International University in continuing its rich heritage of preparing young people to serve the Lord throughout the world by providing a quality biblical education.
In January, 2012, recognizing its continuing dedication to a strong general education core, its expanding emphasis on graduate education, and its passionate commitment to international education and ministry, Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate School became Piedmont International University.
Piedmont’s e4-12 program was started in the fall of 2012 and allows students to complete a Master of Arts in Ministry at a considerable discount while completing online coursework in partnership with their local church or Christian School. A Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree program was added in 2013 and attracts educators from diverse backgrounds. The growth in Piedmont International University's graduate programs is a testament to what the University has always been known for – a combination of academic rigor and practical application of the subject matter.
On April 30, 2015, Tennessee Temple University merged with Piedmont International University, expanding the student body and the curricular offerings. The University grew to include the Temple Baptist Seminary which now houses the Alford School of Ministry and the Bowman School of Bible and Theology. New seminary degrees include a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry. In addition, the School of Leadership and the Center for Leadership moved from Chattanooga to Winston-Salem. This dynamic school includes both an MA and a PhD in Leadership. The Moore School of Education was also approved to offer the historic, award-winning Tennessee Temple BS in Sign Language Interpreting. This strategic merger combined the valuable heritage of two seventy year-old institutions to offer exciting opportunities for the future.
On October 31, 2017 Southeastern Bible College of Birmingham, AL merged with Piedmont International University. The merged institutions, with similar missions, forged a strategic relationship with the goal of sustaining SEBC’s influence in the Birmingham area through a Smart Efficient Blended Campus (SEBC). Additionally, a newly added administrator from SEBC brought exceptional experience and credentials to the Academic Offices at PIU.
On June 1, 2018 John Wesley University of High Point, NC merged with Piedmont International University. The merger accelerates the capacity of both to implement a comprehensive vision for the dynamic future of Christian higher education. The merger has instigated new initiatives including the newly established Patterson School of Business, which offers a Bachelor of Business Administration, a Minor in Sports Management, a Master of Business Administration, and several others minors. A part of the merger also includes the renaming of the School of Leadership to the John Wesley School of Leadership. Besides the academic developments, the merger added experiential depth to our administration, faculty, and staff.
Piedmont International University continues its rich heritage along with the core mission of the schools that have chosen to partner with her through preparing Christian leaders to serve the Lord throughout the world by providing a quality biblical education. Going forward, PIU's vision is to build on its strong 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.