South College has been a part of the fabric of downtown Knoxville since 1882 when Jacob T. Johnson started a branch of Nashville Business College in Knoxville, Tennessee and later renamed it Knoxville Business College. In 1900, KBC occupied part of the public library building on the corner of Gay and Vine where it boasted a commercial department equipped with offices for the actual transaction of business in mercantile and banking lines. In 1910, KBC occupied the Cherokee Building on the corner of Church and Prince across from what is now known as Market Square. In the 1940s, KBC moved to 209 West Church - commonly referred to as the Keyhole Building - where it remained until the 1980’s when it moved to North Fifth Avenue. Due to growth and program diversity, the institution changed its name to South College in 2001. In 2005, the institution relocated its main campus to a larger, newly renovated facility which is located on Hayfield Road. Then in 2006, the Hayfield Road campus was changed to a Learning Site while the institution completed its new main campus facility on Lonas Drive. As the institution continued to grow, in 2011, the institution moved its first Learning Site to a larger facility in Parkside Centre in west Knoxville. In 2015, the South College Board of Trustees approved the merger of South College-Asheville into South College. This campus is now a second Learning Site for South College.
Throughout its history South College has endeavored to meet the demands of the East Tennessee business community. Under the direction of the current administration, (1989- present), the college has revolutionized its curriculum and facilities. Programs are offered at varying degree levels and in varying formats to include both traditional on ground programs and courses, as well as those offered through distance education. South College is proud of its heritage rooted in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and accepts the challenges of the twenty-first century.