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Baylor's History

John Roy established one of the leading college prep boarding schools in the US right here in Tennessee


In early 1893, a group of Chattanooga businessmen set out to find an educator who could open a college preparatory school for "the young men of the city." Their search leads them to John Roy Baylor, a graduate of the University of Virginia. On September 12, 1893, Baylor's University School opens in an old house in downtown Chattanooga with a student body of 31 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17. The tuition was $100.

In 1915 the school moved to its present location overlooking the Tennessee River. The move to the new campus was spearheaded by local businessman John Thomas Lupton, whose family amassed a fortune through their Coca-Cola bottling companies. One year later students adopted a formal Honor Code that is still in effect to this day.

Over the years Baylor has evolved from a non-military school, to a military school, and back to a non-military school in 1971. With the exception of a brief period from 1894-1912, Baylor was an all-male school, until 1985 when the shift to coeducation took place.Today, Baylor enrolls students in grades 6-12. Our boarding program draws students from around the country and the world, who are attracted to the school by a strong academic program, diverse extracurricular activities, and a nurturing residential atmosphere.

Historical Timeline


On September 12, 1893, Baylor's University School opens in downtown Chattanooga with Professor John Roy Baylor as headmaster.


The school moves to its present location overlooking the Tennessee River.


The Baylor student body adopts the Constitution of the Honor System.


Shortly after WW I, Baylor becomes a military school, fully accredited by the U.S. War Department.


The official name is changed from Baylor University to Baylor School.


Professor Baylor dies. Dr. Alexander Guerry becomes the school's second headmaster.


Dr. Guerry leaves to become president of the University of Chattanooga and later the University of the South. He is succeeded by Herbert B. Barks, Sr. who will serve as headmaster for the next 35 years.


Baylor is one of the first 38 secondary schools in the country (and the only one in the South) to participate in the College Board Advanced Placement Program.


Dr. Charles E. Hawkins, III, the school's fourth headmaster is appointed.


Baylor discontinues its military program. Dr. Herbert B. Barks, Jr. becomes the school's fifth headmaster.


The Baylor Red Raiders win the state football championship and are named National Champions by the National Sports News Service.


Baylor becomes coeducational, admitting 42 girls in the ninth and tenth grades.


L. Laird Davis, Jr. is elected Baylor's sixth headmaster.


The first female boarding students are admitted. The total enrollment of 700 students includes 200 girls.


Baylor celebrates its centennial with a physical plant valued at more than $40 million, and an endowment more than $30 million.


Jim Buckheit is hired as Baylor's seventh headmaster. The new Fine Arts Center Complex is dedicated.


The new $6.5 million Weeks Science & Technology Building opens.


Baylor's new sixth grade program is launched.


Dr. Bill Stacy is hired as Baylor's eighth headmaster. Dedication for the new aquatic center and Worsham wrestling arena take place.


Sports Illustrated lists Baylor athletics among the country's top 25 programs and first in the state.


Scott Wilson '75 is hired as Baylor's ninth headmaster.


A $1.5 million dollar renovation of Hedges Library was completed.


Baylor celebrates its 100 Years on The Hill with the burial of a time capsule in Lupton Circle.


The Guerry Dining Hall opens following an extensive renovation to maximize seating and to provide a more inviting on-campus dining experience.


More than $50 million is raised for the school's historic capital campaign, and the $14 million Scotty Probasco Academic Center opens, along with the new Bullard Family Quadrangle greenspace.


The global pandemic closes school's nationwide, while a Baylor lab opens for testing COVID-19 samples for the area and draws national media attention.


Chris Angel '89 becomes Baylor's tenth head of school. 


The Wilson Activities Center featuring a diving platform and outdoor pool overlooking the Tennessee River is dedicated in honor of former headmaster Scott Wilson '75 and his wife, Susan. 


Head of School Chris Angel '89 leads efforts to boost boarding program's enrollment beginning with the renovation of Lupton Annex and construction of seven new townhomes to increase the number of faculty living on campus.