The University of Houston's proud heritage of academic excellence dates back to its founding in 1927. In 1947, the institution launched one of its many rich traditions by adopting the cougar, later named Shasta, as its official mascot.Over the years, we grew and prospered, becoming the University of Houston in 1934. Two years later, the institution acquired land for a permanent campus, and its first building opened in 1939. The university became a state institution in 1963 and joined the newly created University of Houston System in 1977.Today, the University of Houston is a major public research and teaching institution, serving more than 39,800 students annually with nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate programs.The mission of the University of Houston is to offer nationally competitive and internationally recognized opportunities for learning, discovery and engagement to a diverse population of students in a real-world setting. The University of Houston offers a full range of degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's, doctoral and professional levels and pursues a broad agenda of research and creative activities. As a knowledge resource to the public, the university builds partnerships with other educational institutions, community organizations, government agencies, and the private sector to serve the region and impact the world.