Situated in Mobile, Mobile County, Bishop State Community College was established in 1927 as a branch campus of Alabama State College in Montgomery, Montgomery County. Its primary mission was to offer extension courses to African American elementary and secondary teachers. Now, as a member of the Alabama Community College System and with four campuses located throughout the city, the college offers associate degrees and certificates in a number of programs of study.
A historically black college, Bishop State Community College was at first the Mobile branch campus of Alabama State College (present-day Alabama State University). The first dean, O. H. Johnson, was appointed in 1936. In 1942, the college acquired property that included a two-story building on Broad Street in Mobile, the site of the current main campus. In 1963, the name of the institution was changed to Alabama State College—Mobile Center.
In 1965, the Alabama State Board of Education (BoE) established the college as a separate entity and named it Mobile State Junior College, severing its relationship with Alabama State College. The dean at the time, Sanford D. Bishop, was appointed president, and in 1971, the legislature renamed the college S. D. Bishop State Junior College. Upon Bishop's death in 1981, Yvonne Kennedy was appointed president and served 26 years.
The BoE renamed the college Bishop State Community College on February 23, 1989, to reflect the institution's growing number of vocational and career offerings, transfer offerings, and community service activities. In 1991, the BoE merged two technical colleges in Mobile—Southwest State Technical College (established in 1947 as a vocational school that included a practical nursing program) and Carver State Technical College (established in 1962, also as a vocational school)—with Bishop State Community College. These institutions became the Southwest Campus and Carver Campus, respectively.
A fourth campus was added in 1995 when the Baker-Gaines Central Campus, formerly Central High School, opened. The college negotiated with the Mobile County School Board in purchasing the property and building for a price of one dollar. This campus houses the Division of Health Related Professions, offering associate degrees in nursing, emergency medical services, health information technology, and practical nursing, among others. It also includes a museum featuring memorabilia of Central High School and of the early years of Bishop State, as well as a child-care center, a 1,200-seat auditorium, a multimedia center, cafeteria facilities, and a bookstore. James Lowe Jr. was appointed interim president in August 2007 after Kennedy's retirement and became president on May 22, 2008.
Currently, Bishop State serves more than 3,800 students and awards associate degrees in arts, science, applied science, and occupational technologies. It also awards a number of certifications in various areas, including jewelry design and watch repair, the only such program in the state. The college's Division of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning serves the surrounding community by offering career and workforce development, job training initiatives. and continuing education (lifelong learning). Bishop employs approximately 375 people, 280 full-time.
BSCC athletic teams include men's and women's basketball, men's baseball, and women's softball. Known as the Wildcats, team colors are green and gold. These teams compete in the Alabama Junior and Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. The college's Student Government Association offers a way for students to get involved in the college's governance; other student activities include band and choir, as well as honor societies such as Phi Theta Kappa.