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Hélène Perrault, the new Associate Provost (Planning and Budgets), is a woman who doesn't like to sit still, which is a good thing for a professor of kinesiology and physical education. The former chair of that department, she is now taking a running start at her new responsibilities for academic planning, budgets and personnel, combined with institutional analysis. Asked how her new job relates to her former position, Perrault said, "I see my new role as an evolution from chairing a department to involvement with longer term planning and an exciting opportunity to learn and contribute to the functioning of McGill University as a whole."
Perrault, who celebrated her fiftieth birthday this year, came to McGill in 1984. She became chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in 1999 and was a McGill Senator from 2001-2005. Her research career is in clinical exercise physiology with a special emphasis on chronic heart and lung disorders. She has been a medical scientist in the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit at the Montreal Chest Institute since 2000.
Provost Anthony Masi explained that he first got to know Perrault when they both worked on a special task force to report on athletics. "We are delighted at the possibilities Perrault brings to her new position," he said. "She is an outstanding scholar, a great teacher and her collegiality is beyond reproach."
Perrault is a native Montrealer, married to fellow kinesiologist François Peronnet, who teaches at the Université de Montréal. The two met as students in l978. Both partners work long hours, often starting at 8:00 a.m. and coming home after 7:00 p.m., when whoever walks through the door first starts dinner. She said her husband, who was born in France, is a very good cook.
In her spare time, Perrault works out at least three times a week either running, hiking or bicycling. She laughingly said, "I don't like to sit still. I have to move around."
Former colleague Greg Reid, now the acting chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, said Perrault will be missed not only for her leadership of that department, but because she often went running with her colleagues. He said "I hope she comes back to visit often so we can all run up the mountain with her again."