In 1898, Miles College was founded by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, now the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (C.M.E.) and chartered by the State of Alabama in 1905 as Miles Memorial College to educate African-American young people. The college is still supported by and affiliated with the CME Church, although the faculty and student body represent many religions and cultures, national and international. For over 100 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.
Miles College is physically located within the city limits of Fairfield, Alabama and is just two blocks from the western-most city limit of Birmingham. Throughout its history, Miles has maintained and continues to maintain an ‘open’ admissions policy that invites all students with a high school education who demonstrate the potential for and commitment to earning a baccalaureate degree.
While many smaller colleges have faced declining enrollment, Miles College has been ranked as the fastest growing United Negro College Fund (UNCF) member in the nation. The geographic diversity among our students: 36% of our first time students are residents of Alabama, 14% from Georgia, 7% from each of Illinois and Florida, 6% from California and the remaining 30% from 27 additional states.
Alumni of Miles College number 5,200 in the state of Alabama and 4,600 of those live in greater Birmingham contributing to its progress as leading educators, preachers, business executives, entrepreneurs, politicians and community leaders. The mobility of our alumni is evidenced by the growing demographic diversity of our students and leads to the belief that the impact of a Miles College education is widening the scope of enriched contributions throughout society. We are proud to continue a long standing tradition to educate students who otherwise could not attend college because of their lack of academic preparation, test scores or their lack of funds while also providing an honors curriculum for academically gifted students.