Founded in the summer of 1927, Bishop State Community College was originally the Mobile Branch of Alabama State College (University) in Montgomery, Alabama, during the presidency of Dr. Harper Councill Trenholm. It was established as an in-service arm of Alabama State College that offered extension courses to African-American elementary and secondary teachers in Mobile.
In 1936, O. H. Johnson was appointed as dean. The first full-time faculty consisted of seven persons, which included such Mobile pioneers in education as Dr. Benjamin F. Baker, Mary Wilbur Weeks Burroughs and C.F. Powell.
Dr. Sanford. D. Bishop, Sr. joined the teaching staff of “The Branch” in 1938 as an instructor of English and music. In 1941, he was named dean.
In 1942, property was acquired on Broad Street where the present Main Campus is located. The campus consisted of a two-story framed building, which prior to the purchase of the property, was used by the Voluntary Fire Fighters Society #11. It was purchased with a loan that was later repaid by students through fund-raisings. In 1963, the name “Mobile Branch of Alabama State College” was changed to Alabama State College – Mobile Center.
In 1965, the Alabama State Legislature ratified the Alabama State Board of Education’s action establishing the Alabama State College – Mobile Center as Mobile State Junior College and severed its relationship with Alabama State College in Montgomery. Dr. Bishop was appointed president of the new independent junior college. In 1971, the Alabama State Legislature renamed the college to S. D. Bishop State Junior College.
Upon the death of Dr. Bishop on June 21, 1981, Dr. Joseph Christopher Mitchell was selected to serve as interim president. In September 1981, Dr. Yvonne Kennedy was appointed as the second president.
On February 23, 1989, the Alabama State Board of Education re-named the college to Bishop State Community College to reflect its growth in vocational/career offerings, transfer offerings and community service activities. On August 22, 1991, the Alabama State Board of Education consolidated two technical colleges in Mobile – Southwest State Technical College and Carver State Technical College – with Bishop State Community College.
Southwest State Technical College, now the Southwest Campus of Bishop State Community College, was established to provide postsecondary vocational training in the Mobile area under the 1947 Regional Trade School Act. The city of Mobile provided the 26 acres of land for the campus. The first graduates, in 1954, were 15 members of a practical nurse program who had begun classes in January 1953. The College officially opened in May 1954 with an enrollment of 100 students in eight programs.
Carver State Technical College, now the Carver Campus of Bishop State Community College, was chartered by the Alabama State Legislature on January 1, 1961. It was constructed in 1962 in the Toulminville area of Mobile. On November 19, 1976, the Alabama State Board of Education approved changing the name of Carver State Technical Trade School to Carver State Technical Institute and later to Carver State Technical College.
In 1995, the college added an extension to the Main Campus with the opening of the Baker-Gaines Central site. This site was formerly the historic Central High School. The facility houses the Division of Health Related Professions. In addition, it includes a museum, child care center, 1,200-seat auditorium, multimedia center and a bookstore.
Dr. Kennedy was president for 26 years, retiring on July 30, 2007. James Lowe, Jr. became the interim president on August 1, 2007, and on May 22, 2008, the Alabama State Board of Education appointed him president.
On February 18, 2015, James Lowe, Jr. passed away. Dr. Ullysses McBride was appointed March 10, 2015 as interim president.
Dr. Valerie Richardson was appointed as Bishop State Community College’s interim president on August 27, 2015. On October 20, 2015, the ACCS appointed Dr. Richardson as Bishop State Community College’s president.
On February 22nd, 2016, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) selected Dr. Reginald Sykes as acting president of Bishop State Community College.