SWOSU was established by an act of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1901 as the Southwestern Normal School, authorized to offer two years of training for public school teachers. The first classes met in 1903. Initially, four years of preparatory work for pre-college students were offered.
In 1920, the preparatory (academy) courses were eliminated and two additional years of college work in teacher training were added. The State Legislature approved a change of name to Southwestern State Teachers College. The first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in May 1921. Other changes in name and purposes occurred in 1939 when the institution was designated as Southwestern State College of Diversified Occupations, and in 1941, when it became Southwestern Institute of Technology. During this two-year period, the college added a school of pharmacy, degree work in the arts and sciences, and trade schools.
In 1949, the Oklahoma State Legislature changed the name of the institution to Southwestern State College, and in 1974, to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, without altering its purposes and objectives. On July 1, 1987, Sayre Junior College was merged with Southwestern Oklahoma State University as a branch campus designated Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Sayre.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Sayre was founded as Sayre Junior College in 1938 under legislative authorization which permitted public high schools to add a 13th and 14th year of study to their curricula. Nineteen public schools took this step. In 1940, the college name was changed to Oklahoma Western Junior College; however, the original name was soon adopted again, and in May 1940 the first degrees were conferred. In 1956, Sayre Junior College moved from facilities occupied jointly with Sayre High School to its present location on old Highway 66. The merger with Southwestern Oklahoma State University marked the end of the Oklahoma community college system, since Sayre Junior College was the only such institution remaining of the original nineteen.
The Sayre location is located 60 miles west of Weatherford. Its primary service area is western Oklahoma. It offers open admission to high school graduates as well as to students who do not hold a high school diploma.
Hail to Thee, Southwestern
Standing firmly on the hilltop
Clearly outlined 'neath the blue
Emblem of the best and noblest
Alma Mater true.
Foster mother, friends so loyal
Honor, love, and faith we bring,
With thy spirit ever near us
This our song shall ring.
Hail! All Hail! To thee, Southwestern
Alma mater true.
We will ever sing our praises
To the White and Blue.
Stand Up and Cheer
Stand up and cheer
Cheer loud and long for dear Southwestern
For today we’ll raise
The White and Blue above all others
Our sturdy band now is playing
And we are sure to win the fray
We’ve got the vim;
We’re here to win;
For this old Southwestern’s day.
University Mascot: Duke the Bulldog
University Colors: Blue and White
University Newspaper: The Southwestern