Lemont Fournier Institute of Technology "Titans"

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Lemont Fournier Institute
Photo submitted by Barb of the Lemont Historical Society

Fournier Institute Entrance
Submitted by Celeste Kadisak

                        The History of Lemont Fournier Institute of Technology
Lemont (population 13,098) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the southwest corner of Cook County. The city is located on Lemont Road between Interstate Highway 55 and Illinois Route 171. The Des Plaines River and the Sanitary Drainage and Ship Canal both flow to the northwest of town. The Amtrak/ Atchison, Topeka, & Sante Fe Railroad has tracks that travel through Lemont as well. Lemont is located about 25 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
Lemont has a very long and storied history. According to the website address of http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/736.html, the following is a summary of that history:
The area in which Lemont is now located was first settled in the 1830s. Attempts to build a town in the area occurred in 1836 (Keepataw) and 1839 (Athens).  However, it was the building of the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848 that led to the town of Lemont being created. Lemont was officially incorporated as a town in 1876.
Early industrial strengths of Lemont included the development of rock quarries.  This brought in several immigrant workers to help populate the area and work the quarries. Lemont's growth was steady, though not remarkable for its first 100 years. The town's population in 1960 was 3,400 and this grew to 7,350 by 1990.  However in 2000, that number had nearly doubled to 13,100.
The following history of the high school known as Fournier Institute of Technology in Lemont was provided to us by Barb of the Lemont Area Historical Society (http://www.township.com/lemont/historical/index.htm):
"The Fournier Institute of Technology was built in 1929 by the Archdiocese of Chicago as a seminary and retirement house for priests. Arthur J. Schmitt, a successful engineer who founded Amphenol Corporation purchased the property in early 1941 to establish a school for young men as pre-engineering students and a full program for engineering.
Fournier graduated its last high school class in 1951 (last college class in 1955) and ceased operations in June of that year. Electrical engineering was the primary field included in the curriculum and ethical precepts were included. The Institute was Lemont’s only College offering a five-year secular course of study and graduate diplomas. But from the beginning, it was designed to give its students a good background in Catholic precepts with many of the instructors being priests. Some local residents were teachers at Fournier, such as Mrs. William Krause and Frank E. Pick, head of the Department of Physics."

Fourneir Institute Classroom
Snet to us by Celeste Kadisak

Fournier Institute Classroom
Courtesy of Celeste Kadisak

Additional information from the 1953 dissertation written about the history of Catholic secondary education by Sr. Mary Innocenta Montay also tells us that Fournier Institute was built at a cost of over $250,000 in a wooded estate area east of Lemont, and was named for the Very Rev. Cyril Fournier, who served as the first Provincal of the Viatorian order in the United States. When the school opened on September 8, 1930, the school's mission was to exclusively prepare candidates for the novitiate, emphasizing religion, Latin, mathematics, and English. The enrollment was small and closed in 1933 during the heart of the Great Depression.

However, the school was re-opened in 1943 when Schmitt created his own foundation with a board of trustees to oversee the school's operation. It was a six-year school with the junior and senior years of high school, along with a four-year college course to educate and train future industrial leaders.

Fournier had dormitories on campus with everything paid for by the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation. Viatorian priests and brothers were still involved as members of the faculty.

Fournier Institute Outdoor Assembly
Sent to us by Celeste Kadisak

Fournier Institute Activities Room
Submitted by Celeste Kadisak

The high school department was discontinued in June of 1951, due an engineering mortality rate that was too high for incoming students that had to make a career choice after their sophomore years in high school prior to transferring to Fournier. The school was later purchased by the Vincentian Order and reopened as St. Vincent dePaul Seminary in 1955, only to close in 1992. The school's main buidling was torn down in 1996 in an effort to develop a subdivision on the site. 

Fournier Institute of Technology Quick Facts
Year first opened:                              1930
Year firstclosed:                                1933
Reopened:                                        1943
Closed high school:                           1951
Closed college:                                 1955
Fournier team nickname:                  "Titans"
Fournier team colors:                        Blue & White
Fournier fight song:                            unavailable
We know that the boys of Lemont Fournier Institute of Technology competed with other schools in the area in the sport of basketball. It is probable that baseball and track were offered as well. School team nickname, uniform colors, fight song, team records, and coach's names are all items we would like to share on this page.
Boys Basketball 
We know that the team of 1948-49 had a real nice season. This is proven by the fact that Fournier won a District title that year. The team record and coach's name of this and other Fournier teams are needed.
1944-45                    Riverside District Tournament        Coach's name & record needed
                                 Semi-final lost to Bensenville 41-28
                                 Riverside Beat Bensenville in title game
1945-46                    Bensenville District Tournament     Coach's name & record needed
                                 1st Rd Beat St. Procopius 45-35
                                 2nd Rd Beat Leyden 34-27
                                 Semi-final lost to Riverside-Brookfield 52-37
                                 R-B beat Hinsdale in title game
1946-47                    Lisle District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                                 Semi-final lost to Des Plaines St. Mary's 42-34
                                 Des Plaines St. Mary's beat St. Procopius in title game
1947-48                    Lisle District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                                 Semi-final lost to St. Procopius 38-17
                                 Des Plaines St. Mary's beat St. Procopius in title game
1948-49                    Lisle District Champions              Coach's name & record needed.
                                 Semi-Final Beat St. Procopius 42-38
                                 Title Game Beat Des Plaines St. Mary's 27-26
                                 Elmhurst Regional Tournament
                                 1st Rd lost to Maine Township 65-22
                                 Downers Grove Beat Hinsdale in title game
1949-50                    Lisle District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                                 Semi-final lost to St. Procopius 42-37
                                 St. Procopius beat Lemont in title game
ST. PROCOPIUS (42): Kaspar 19, Rehcorik 7, Blondell 7, Ondrak 4, Vargas 3, Urban 2.
FOURNIER (37): Gliniecki 11, O’Neill 11, Proctor 8, Kolet 6, Denigan 1.
1950-51                    Lisle District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                                 *1st Rd lost to Orland Park 44-33
                                 St. Procopius beat Orland Park in title game
*Possibly the last HS varsity basketball game for Fournier HS.   
**From Celeste Kadisak:
"My father-in-law, Richard Kadisak, attended Fournier Institute in Lemont  from 1943-1944. He graduated elementary school in 1940, so I assume his attendance at Fournier was for junior and senior years of high school.  After graduation, he then entered the army, and fought in the Philippines and was with the occupying forces in Japan."

Photo of Fournier Student Richard Kadisak - 1940s
Courtesy of Cleste Kadisak

From Harry McKee:
" I was a student at Fournier at the time of its closing in 1955. We were told our scholarships would be transferred to either Marquette University or the University of Notre Dame.  A small number were transferred to the University of Illinois.
The basketball team was called the Titans and the colors were blue and white.  A volume of information called “The Fournier Story” will fill you in on many, many pages of details regarding the incredible story of this institution."
If You Have Further Information To Share... 
...regarding the history of Fournier Institute of Technology, please write to us via e-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also contact us via U.S. Postal Service at the following address:
IHSGD Website
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago,  Il.    60631

Lemont Fournier Institute Building
Provided by Celeste Kadisak

Lemont Fournier Insititute Entrance
Sent to us by Celeste Kadisak