Dr. Guy Breton was named rector of Université de Montréal in 2010. A seasoned manager in the academic and health-care sectors, he is known for his ability to communicate and engage in a climate of organizational change.
A physician and radiologist with degrees from McGill University and Université de Sherbrooke, Dr. Breton began his teaching career at UdeM’s Faculty of Medicine in 1979. He later held a number of senior positions at the university, as director of the Department of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, executive vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and executive vice-rector.
At the same time, he held various strategic and operational positions at Hôpital Saint-Luc and the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). Dr. Breton has contributed to the advancement of professional and academic associations, notably as president of the Quebec Association of Radiologists, the Canadian Heads of Academic Radiology, the U15 group of Canadian research universities and the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire au Québec, which represents all university institutions in Quebec.
Under his leadership, Université de Montréal has held its position among the top 100 universities in the world and become an international leader in artificial intelligence. It is also completing one of the biggest development projects in its history: the MIL campus with its Science Complex, which welcomed its first students in fall 2019.
Dr. Breton’s pride in Université de Montréal has led to the launch of a number of initiatives that expand its international presence. He helped establish G3, a network of three leading French-speaking universities—Université libre de Bruxelles, Université de Genève and Université de Montréal. In 2017,
Université de Montréal created the Observatoire de la Francophonie économique, which aims to paint a detailed picture of French-speaking economies. A year later, the University opened an office in Beijing to strengthen and establish partnerships in China and Southeast Asia. With more than 400,000 graduates, Université de Montréal’s global alumni network includes more than 43,000 people living outside Canada who help spread the University’s influence worldwide.
Dr. Breton’s engagement and outstanding career have been recognized many times. Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Université de Technologie de Compiègne have each awarded him an honorary doctorate. He also received the CUPL Honorary Professor title from the China University of Political Science
and Law and was awarded the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms by the French government. He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique and has received the Albert-Jutras Award from the Quebec Association of Radiologists.
Dr. Breton has been involved with complex and controversial issues such as the merger of three hospitals to create CHUM, the reform of Université de Montréal’s charter/articles of incorporation and the construction of the Science Complex and the new MIL campus, which is the biggest university real estate development project currently being completed in Canada.
His career has been marked by many initiatives to change organizational cultures. For example, he promoted continuing professional education even though it had never been considered as an activity that universities should focus on. He also set up a fund that receives contributions from all radiologists to finance radiology research and education. With his support, the University has increased its commitment to services for the surrounding community, such as L’Extension, a clinic with a social purpose. Dr. Breton believes diversity among all University stakeholders and governing bodies is critically important. He has always encouraged his students, residents and colleagues to develop professionally, giving them advice and support as they take on strategic roles such as President of the Royal College, Chair of the Canadian Association of Radiologists’ Artificial Intelligence Working Group, or Quebec Minister of Health.
He has played key roles in complex structural endeavours such as implementing Quebec’s breast cancer screening program and developing the University’s satellite campuses with unconventional partners such as the City of Laval, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and the City of Brossard. All of these projects aim to better respond to the community’s needs with respect to specific issues and excellence and partnership are fundamental to their success.
Throughout his career, he has offered bold, innovative responses to specific, evolving needs from diverse groups in all sectors of society while focusing on equity and excellence.