Dr. James B. Eskridge brought excellent credentials in higher education to his position on the Stillwater campus in 1921, after serving as president of colleges in Chickasha and Weatherford. The first A. and M. president with a Ph.D., Eskridge worked to help impoverished students and improve relations with state high schools.
He led administrative efforts to reorganize the schools of science, literature and veterinary medicine, and supported the development of a service-oriented school of education.
Governor Jack Walton used his political authority to call on the Oklahoma National Guard to remove Eskridge in favor of his own choice for the position. The move triggered widespread student protests.