Miles College is a historically black college founded in 1898. Located at 5500 Myron Massey Blvd in Fairfield in western Jefferson County, it is a private liberal arts institution of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church with 1,501 students enrolled for 2021. The college is a member of the United Negro College Fund and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The president is George French Jr. The student newspaper is The Milean.
Miles College offers 25 different degrees in education, business, biology, and the sciences.
The college competes in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II. The school colors are purple and gold, its mascot is the Golden Bear, and its marching band is the Miles Purple Marching Machine.
Miles College was founded in 1898 by leaders of the Colored Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church, later renamed the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The C.M.E. denomination had separated form the white-dominated Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1870. The college was named Miles Memorial College in honor of William H. Miles, a founding bishop of the C.M.E. Church who had been born a slave in Kentucky. By his death in 1892, Bishop Miles had helped the C.M.E. Church become one of the largest denominations among African Americans in the South.
In 2006, Miles College purchased the former Lloyd Noland Hospital from HealthSouth, creating space for a 41-acre "north campus" in addition to the college's existing 35 acres. The college is considering acquiring property between the two parcels, currently the site of the Demetrius C. Newton Gardens apartments operated by the Fairfield Housing Authority.
The school broke ground on a $20 million construction project in October 2012, adding a 240-bed residence hall, a student center, and an admissions and welcome center. It also restored its pedestrian entranceway with grants from Home Depot and Energen. Other plans for the north campus include a school of international studies, a health and wellness center, and a performing arts center.
Miles College is a member of the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative which provides funding and support for small business development. In July 2021 Miles College used funds from the CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to clear $2.1 million in outstanding account balances for currently-enrolled students, and another $1.6 million to provide resources to support students disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. That fall, the college announced it would also cancel $3.9 million in federally-backed student loans for currently-enrolled students.
- See main article Miles Golden Bears.
Miles' athletic teams are the NCAA Division II Golden Bears of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The team colors are purple and gold. The football team plays in 8,500-seat Sloan-Alumni Stadium on campus. The basketball teams compete in 1,200-seat Knox-Windham Gymnasium.
- Emory Anthony, attorney
- Richard Arrington, former Mayor of Birmingham
- William Bell, former Birmingham City Council member, current Jefferson County Commission member
- Mildred Brown, publisher of the Omaha Star
- U. W. Clemon, U. S. District Court judge
- Steven Hoyt, Birmingham City Council member
- Bernard Kincaid, former Mayor of Birmingham
- Thales McReynolds, former NBA player
- Carole Smitherman, Birmingham City Council president
- Bennett Stewart, former U. S. Congressman
- Paul A. G. Stewart, Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Cleopatra Tucker, New Jersey assemblywoman
- Abraham Woods Jr, minister and Civil Rights leader
- Miles College Centennial History Committee (2005) Miles College: The First Hundred Years. Campus History Series. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Press. ISBN 9780738517933
- "Miles College" (April 13, 2007) Wikipedia - accessed July 2, 2007
- "William H. Miles" (November 29, 2012) Wikipedia - accessed February 20, 2013
- Noah D. Drezner, "Miles College," Encyclopedia of Alabama, accessed 20 Feb 2013.
- Garrison, Greg (October 22, 2010) "Miles College looks at linking with Noland hospital site." The Birmingham News
- Norris, Toraine (February 26, 2011) "Miles College eyes housing complex." The Birmingham News
- Watkins, Mia (October 4, 2012) "Miles College to build three new buildings in $20 million project; enrollment up by 9 percent." The Birmingham News
- "Miles College clears $2.1M in outstanding student balances." (July 31, 2021) The Birmingham Times
- "Enrollment Increases Second Year in a Row at Miles College." (September 23, 2021) Alabama NewsCenter/The Birmingham Times