Western Oregon University is the oldest part of the state’s university system. It is a liberal arts institution located in the small city of Monmouth, the last in the state to be alcohol-free, until 2002.
Founded in 1856, WOU is 15 miles from state capital Salem and 60 miles south west of Portland. The Pacific Ocean is 50 miles west of the university.
Around two-thirds of students are part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which runs undergraduate courses such as art, music, psychological sciences, communication studies, anthropology and philosophy & religious studies. Education, criminal justice, contemporary music and interpreting studies are among the subjects available at postgraduate level. Business, criminal justice, education, exercise science and psychology are the most popular subjects across the university based on student numbers.
The university’s sports teams, the Western Oregon Wolves, play in the second tier of college sport. Its men’s track and field and women’s basketball teams are among the most successful.
Actor Ariana Richards, who made her name aged 13 as Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park and has also been in Timescape, Prancer and Tremors, Major League Baseball pitcher Dan Straily, and Jeff Charleston, a defensive end who won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints during a glittering National Football League career, are all WOU alumni.