small school, big education - since 1973

Vanguard Alumni Connection

Vanguard Traditions


Founded in 1973 in Waco, Texas on a collegiate style, 8.5 acre campus, Vanguard College Preparatory School is a private, independent, coeducational day school for students in grades 7-12.

The current site of Vanguard was purchased in January, 1973; and with a generous grant from the Cooper Foundation, the school was renovated and opened in September. The original footprint included three large limestone buildings constructed in the 1930s and 1940s. 106 students enrolled and the school opened on it’s first day on September 4, 1973, with tuition set at $1,500.

Dr. Louis Bright, president of the Western Institute of Science and Technology and Dr. Jerry Vincent, WIST’s director of education were keys in it’s founding. The first chairman of the Board was Dr. Abner McCall, then President of Baylor University.

Using the individualized instruction model of the Western Institute of Science and Technology, students would use “packets” with learning objectives and activities. Going at their own pace, they would demonstrate a score of 85% or better before moving on. They could retest as necessary and their grade was earned on their final retest. The school was a part of the Nationwide Computer Service, based out of Texas State Technical Institute to provide services to schools and colleges across the country. A computer terminal installed at Vanguard was an engineering and experimental terminal that developed and managed the individualized learning programs. Vanguard moved to a college preparatory style of learning since that time, but maintains it’s core values as it prepares students for academic success and fulfilling lives.

In 1993, the Vanguard Foundation was established to support the school with a permanent endowment for Vanguard College Preparatory School. In 2009 the Foundation received funding from a charitable remainder trust set up by Jeanne and Russell Judson. The Foundation continues to work to support the school today and into the future.

Students now use 21st century tools to support learning and enhance student engagement. State-of-the-art computer labs are accessible to students. Art, drama, debate, publications, service organizations and non-selective athletics are among extracurricular options. Enrollment has varied year-to year, but stands at an average of 235 students. Qualified students are admitted regardless of race, religion, or ethnic origin.

Mindful of the high standards of the visionaries who founded the school, the foundation of the Vanguard experience is based on our core values – rigor, responsibility, and respect. The community of Vanguard students, faculty, administrators, and parents are committed to a personalized learning experienced that prepares each student to excel at the collegiate level and beyond.

Founders of Vanguard College Preparatory School:

  • Dr. Louis Bright
  • Dr. N. J. Bellegie
  • Spencer Brown
  • John Davis
  • Mrs. Bill Dosher
  • Roy Dugger
  • Harlon Fentress
  • Rudy Grossenbacher
  • James Mathis
  • Abner McCall
  • Jay Naman
  • Dr. Ivan Newman
  • William Pakis
  • Mrs. James Patton
  • Rabbi Mordecai Podet
  • Harry Provence
  • Donna Spence Slette
  • Cullen Smith
  • Mrs. Goodhue Smith, Jr.
  • George Weaver


Memoriam /
In Loving Memory

Vanguard College Preparatory School mourns the loss of members of its family. We pay homage to our fellow Vikings who have passed away. If you wish to submit information on an alumna or alumnus who has passed away, please email

Class of 1976

• Meg (Oates) Smith

Class of 1977

• Mark Fulmer

Class of 1978

• Dana (Cooper) Mathis

Class of 1980

• Joan Davison Bargainier Dunkum

Class of 1982

• Mary “Katherine” Baird Darmer

Class of 1984

• Michele Mayeaux

Class of 1988

• Patrick Waller

Class of 1995

• Phillip Adams

Class of 1999

• Heather Crawford

Class of 2005

• Walton Jones

Class of 2006

• Josh Risinger

Class of 2003

• Emma Welter

Class of 2017

• Amapreet “Amy” Kaur

To make a gift in memory or honor of a loved one, go to the Vanguard website or contact the office of development.  For information on endowed named scholarships or program funds go to the Vanguard Foundation website.