Southern Oregon University (SOU) is a public liberal arts college located in Ashland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1926, it was formerly known as Southern Oregon College (SOC) and Southern Oregon State College (SOSC). SOU offers programs in business, economics, criminology, natural sciences, including environmental science, Shakespearean studies and theater arts programs. SOU is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. The university has gone through many names and iterations since its founding as Ashland Academy in 1872. In 1878, the school was renamed Ashland College, and then renamed Ashland College and Normal School in 1879. In 1887, the State of Oregon proclaimed the school an official state normal school. In 1892, the school selected a new site and construction began on what was named the Ashland Collegiate Institute. The school reopened in 1895 as the Southern Oregon State Normal School (SOSNS), and state funding began in 1899. The 20th Century saw the the school become the Southern Oregon Normal School in 1932, then it became the Southern Oregon College of Education, then to Southern Oregon College (SOC) in 1956, then Southern Oregon State College (SOSC) in 1975, before the school finally became the Southern Oregon University in 1997.