St. Viator College

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St. Viator College
Active 1868–1938
Type Private
Affiliation Catholic
Students 300
Location Bourbonnais, IL, US
41°09′13″N 87°52′34″W / 41.153620°N 87.876140°W / 41.153620; -87.876140Coordinates: 41°09′13″N 87°52′34″W / 41.153620°N 87.876140°W / 41.153620; -87.876140
Campus Rural
Sports Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

St. Viator College was a Catholic liberal arts college in Bourbonnais, Illinois. It is no longer in operation.


St. Viator's grew out of the original Bourbonnais village school, founded in 1865 by the Viatorians,[1] to an academy for boys[2] with the help of Father P. Beaudoin and Brothers Martel and Bernard, and on 9/6/1868 to a four-year liberal arts college with the aid of Father Thomas Roy. After nine years of work, Father Roy returned to his home in Canada, and was succeeded by Father M. J. Marsile, who oversaw the college for another 25 years. In 1906, several buildings were destroyed by fire, but courses continued in improvised quarters and new buildings were erected. Father Marsile afterward resigned, and Reverend John Patrick O'Mahoney C.S.V. was appointed president. Under financial pressure, it closed in 1939.[3]


Roy Memorial Chapel was named for Father Thomas Roy, who served as president of the college. Marsile Alumni Hall was named in honour of Father M. J. Marsile, who was college president for 25 years.[3] After St. Viator's closed in 1938, the campus was purchased by Olivet Nazarene College from Olivet, Illinois.[4] Four buildings on the Olivet Nazarene campus are original from the days of St. Viator's 39-acre campus.


St. Viator College had a preparatory department and high school in addition to the college and seminary and, for most of its years, had an enrollment of over 300 students.[3]

Student life[edit]

During its existence, St. Viator was the host of the Catholic State Basketball Tournament for Illinois.[5] St. Viator College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1916-1938.

Notable persons[edit]

Many of the college's graduates were priests, but even more entered the professions of law and medicine.[3] Notable alumni included John Tracy Ellis,[6] Sam J. McAllister, Fulton J. Sheen,[7] G. Raymond Sprague,[8] Bernard James Sheil.[9] and Joseph James Smith, youngest son of the notorious bad man "Soapy" Smith.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]