Education, both primary and higher, would be one of Msgr. Gauthier's major concerns.
The Université de Montréal would play a major role in his concerns. Msgr. Gauthier's name must be added to those of Msgr. Bourget, Msgr. Fabre, and Msgr. Bruchési in recognition of their efforts to obtain full, independent status for the Université de Montréal. It was at Msgr. Bruchési's request that he began the final talks to this end in 1917. He used his experience as vice-rector, then rector, to move things forward. The year 1919 marked the “detachment” ad experimentum of Laval University. In 1920, a civil charter was granted, giving the Université de Montréal legal status. In 1924, Rome granted it “definitive autonomy”, and in 1927 a papal document ratified this autonomy. Finally came long gestation period in which the reluctant Université Laval, Roman authority, and civil power intermingled.
At the beginning of his rectorate (1920-1923), Msgr. Gauthier set up a Faculty of Arts, a Faculty of Sciences; and the School of Social, Economic, and Political Sciences.
One feature of Msgr. Gauthier's academic work that should be highlighted is the intense collaboration he sought and promoted between lay people and ecclesiastics in the life and development of the Université de Montréal.
Msgr. Gauthier also gave impetus to the higher education of young girls and to the preparation of teachers for teaching. He supported and encouraged the founder of the Institut pédagogique (1926), Mother Saint-Anne-Marie, CND, a remarkable educator who had already established the first classical college for girls in Montreal, Collège Marguerite-Bourgeoys (1908). Msgr. Gauthier again supported the founding of several scolasticats-écoles normales, promoted the classical system of education in Montreal through the founding of André-Grasset (1927) and Sainte-Croix (1929) colleges.