In Memoriam Professor David Belanger

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Publish Date:
22 Apr, 2013


David Bélanger obtained a doctorate in psychology from the University of Montreal in 1959 for his innovative work on the psycho-physiological activation theory (under the supervision of Dr Robert Malmo, of the Allan Memorial Institute, McGill University). He carried on this research work when he was back from World War II where he had served in the 8th infantry regiment of the U.S. Army (by virtue of his dual citizenship, US and Canadian) alongside General Omar Bradley. For nearly 35 years, David Bélanger led an outstanding academic career in the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal, where he began teaching in the early 1950s. He assumed twice the role of Departmental Chair (from 1963 to 1969 and from 1973 to 1976), then of Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy (from 1969 to 1972), just before the creation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences . When he retired in 1984, he was promoted to professor emeritus in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of experimental psychology and the development of the University of Montreal. 

David Bélanger was one of the pioneers of the emergence of experimental psychology in Quebec, not only by devoting his best energies to the development of his research work and publications in the psycho-physiology of motivation, but also by all the efforts he made to develop research infrastructures that were still embryonic at the time in the francophone community of Quebec. Several generations of students owe him their doctoral training and their research supervision. In addition, while holding administrative responsibilities as Chair and Dean, David Bélanger managed to
create and establish reliable clinical training programs and quality research training in psychology, according to the best international standards. He also always made a point of contributing to the  development of psychology both as a science and as a profession.

David Bélanger has had a most remarkable, even unique, national and international extension. First, he was elected President of the Canadian Psychological Association (1966-67), and he also was elected President of the Inter-american Society of Psychology (1972- 1974). In addition, he served as member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Applied Psychology, from 1974 to 1990, but it is as Treasurer of the International Union of Psychological Science, the largest group of psychologists in the world with more than 80 national members, representing close to one million psychologists, that he really made his mark on the international scene, thus ensuring Quebec and the University of Montreal an enviable reputation for the quality of its training in psychology.

During his career, David Bélanger has received several honors and awards, including the Prix Adrien Pinard of the Quebec Society for Research in Psychology, the Professional Award from the Canadian Psychological Association, the Noël-Mailloux Award for Life Time Achievement from the Quebec college of psychologists and the Inter-american Award of Psychology. Finally, in 2002, he received an honorary doctorate from Laval University, in Quebec city.