Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is a public university in Weatherford and Sayre, Oklahoma. It is one of six Regional University System of Oklahoma members. SWOSU is placed at Tier 1 in the category "Regional Universities (West)" in the 2011 U.S. News & World Report. SWOSU has 14 nationally accredited academic programs—the most among Oklahoma's senior regional universities.
SWOSU was first established through an act of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1901 as Southwestern Normal School, although no classes were held until 1903. Several towns fought a court battle to become the home of the new school, but Weatherford won the battle. The normal school included both a two-year degree program for teacher education and a preparatory school. In 1920, the preparatory part of the school closed and a four-year baccalaureate degree program replaced it. The first bachelor's degrees by the renamed Southwestern State Teachers College were awarded in the spring of 1921.
The Great Depression brought several attempts to close the school for financial reasons. It had to remove several presidents to survive politically. But it did survive. In 1939, the school added a vocational training curriculum to its teacher-training mission.
The school underwent significant expansion during World War II, adding additional programs in the arts and sciences as well as its School of Pharmacy. After brief periods as Southwestern State College of Diversified Occupations and Southwestern Institute of Technology, the name was formally changed to Southwestern State College by the Oklahoma Legislature. The first graduate degree, a Masters of Teaching, was added in 1953, and the school was officially designated as Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1974.
In 1987, Sayre Junior College in Sayre, Oklahoma was merged with SWOSU, becoming Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Sayre.
Since its beginning, there have been 17 presidents that have served at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
On Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s campus, there are several places to eat such as The University Grill, The Bulldog Beanery, The Yogurt Corner, and Duke’s Diner.
The Weatherford campus has a span of over 100 acres. The campus is the grounds for several diverse buildings, some dating back to the school’s opening in 1903, and some as recent as 2014. The new Pioneer Cellular Event Center opened January 2014. SWOSU offers 38 bachelor’s degrees, 7 associate degrees, 6 master's degrees and 1 doctorate. Enrollment for SWOSU is approximately 5,200 and the most up-to-date student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1. SWOSU has a Veteran’s assistance program as well as a distance learning program.
SWOSU's Sayre campus was founded in 1938 as a Junior College, but in July 1987 by act of the Oklahoma legislature, it was merged with Southwestern Oklahoma State University. It offers open admission to high school graduates. SWOSU at Sayre is fully accredited and offers Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees in both general and specialized areas of study. Its degrees and programs of study contain:
Associate in Science Degree: Computer Science, General Business, General Studies, Hospitality, Restaurant and Gaming Management, Medical Lab Technician, Pre-Nursing, Radiologic Technology.
Associate in Applied Science Degree: Criminal Justice – Corrections, Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA).
SWOSU's athletic teams are known as the Bulldogs. The university competes at the NCAA Division II level as a member of the Great American Conference (GAC). SWOSU began play in the GAC in the 2012-13 academic year. SWOSU offers nine different sports including: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, women's track and field, women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s rodeo, women’s soccer, softball and volleyball.
There are nearly 100 student organizations such as SGA (Student Government Association), CAB (Campus Activities Board), NSO (New Student Orientation), RHJB (Residence Hall Judicial Board) and Greek Fraternities and Sororities that offer interesting activities to make campus life more exciting for students. The events these organizations put on are typically free to students. SGA is the official governing body of SWOSU students. It is the advocate for student interests, a powerful voice for change and progress, and a dedicated provider of student services and resources. SGA puts on annual events such as SWOSUPalooza.
SWOSU's Panorama series has been bringing outstanding events to the Weatherford campus since 1991. Some of the personalities/groups who have appeared are animal expert Jack Hanna, The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar, The Buried Life, Switchfoot, Peking Acrobats and comedians Jeff Dunham (twice), Tracy Morgan, Pauly Shore, Lewis Black and Bill Engvall. Panorama is partially supported by an endowed lectureship sponsored by SBC.