Oklahoma A&M College had intiated defense efforts in the late 1930s as the situation in Europe deteriorated, so when the U.S. entered World War II, the campus was already engaged, especially in the areas of techical training, industrial arts, and trade and industrial education, all of which offered defense courses.
Many of the programs were twelve weeks in length and included such hands-on subjects as aircraft engine mechanics, sheet metal forming and riveting, machine shop practice, welding, and woodworking. College-level programs were also available to serve the aircraft and petroleum industries.
An increasing number of Oklahoma A&M College faculty and staff were answering the call to military duty. Throughout the war, more than 40,000 men and women received educational service certificates following study in one of a dozen different military programs at Oklahoma A&M College, which became known as "foxhole university" by the end of the war.