Meridell Achievement Center was founded in 1961 by Janet and Wayne Lippold, originally on a 5-acre campus in the Jollyville area of north Austin, TX. Janet discovered her passion for psychiatric care for children while training in Topeka, KS under the famous psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Menninger. After moving to Texas and working various psychiatric nursing jobs, Janet with her husband Wayne self-financed the opening of Meridell as a daycare for children and adolescents with mental health needs, but before the first student enrolled, the couple received increasing demand for 24-hour residential care and thus opened with both programs initially.

As the legend goes, Janet Lippold chose the name “Meridell” because of her family’s Scottish heritage. Meridell in Scotland is believed to mean a “peaceful, safe-haven”.