AOSR DEBATES – 6th EDITION – Constantin I. Angelescu – a prestigious personality of Romanian science, education and civilization. 150th anniversary

On the occasion of one and a half century since the birth of Constantin I. Angelescu (June 10, 1869), the Academy of Romanian Scientists organized a conference dedicated to the illustrious Romanian scientist, university professor and politician.

Conference “CONSTANTIN I. ANGELESCU – PRESTIGIOUS PERSONALITY OF ROMANIAN SCIENCE, EDUCATION AND CIVILIZATION. 150 YEARS SINCE HIS BIRTH” took place in the new headquarters of the Academy of Romanian Scientists (3 Ilfov Street, sector 5, Bucharest), which was inaugurated on this occasion, on 10 June 2019, starting at 12.00. The event was attended by ministers, academics, university professors and researchers, scientists and cultural figures, writers and media representatives.

Constantin I. Angelescu (born in Craiova on June 12, 1869 and passed away on September 14, 1948) was a surgeon who studied in Paris, university professor, politician, honorary member of the Romanian Academy, a leading figure of Romanian science, academic and public life in the first half of the 20th century. As a politician, Dr. Angelescu was a member of parliament, senator, minister of public works (1914-1916), minister of public instruction in two terms (1922-1928, 1933-1937), prime minister of Romania for a short period (30 December 1933-3 January 1934). Importantly, Dr. Angelescu was the first Romanian Minister Plenipotentiary in Washington (from January 1918) and from this position promoted Romania’s cause and its national project overseas. Constantin I. Angelescu’s most important contribution as a politician was as Minister of Public Instruction. From this position, he worked to modernize Romanian education and bring it into line with European standards, initiating a series of reforms, promoting, at the constitutional level (the 1923 Constitution), fundamental principles such as freedom of education, compulsory and free primary education, instituting the baccalaureate exam, etc. As Minister of Education, he proved to be a worthy follower of Spiru Haret, the founder of modern Romanian education (to whom, by the way, he was also related). Constantin I. Angelescu was an honorary member of the Romanian Academy, elected on 24 May 1934. From 1923 to 1947, he was president of the Romanian Athenaeum, and from 1941 to 1947, president of the Cultural League.

On March 29, 1935, Dr. Constantin I. Angelescu founded the Romanian Academy of Sciences, as a forum of scientific creation and consecration, an institution that brought together leading personalities of Romanian science, some of them also members of the Romanian Academy. The institution had a dramatic history after the establishment of the communist regime and until its fall. At present, the Academy of Romanian Scientists is, by law, “the successor and sole legatee of the Romanian Academy of Sciences” (art. 3, para. 3 of the Law no. 31 of 15 January 2007 on the reorganisation and functioning of the Academy of Romanian Scientists).

At the opening of the Conference, Prof. Dr. Eng. Adrian Badea, President of the Academy of Romanian Scientists, said that the 150th anniversary of Constantin Angelescu’s homage is a special moment for the Romanian Academy of Sciences, as he is not only a prestigious doctor, professor and minister, but also the founder of the Romanian Academy of Sciences. President Badea pointed out that the act of establishing the institution was born out of the need for valuable personalities of the sciences to be included in an elite academic structure, at a time when the Romanian Academy had a very small number of seats in scientific fields. According to the speaker, Dr. Angelescu was a personality who marked the history of Romania in the interwar period, in his qualities as a scientist, university professor, politician, minister, president of the Romanian Athenaeum, through his many achievements especially in the field of education. The AOSR is proud of its past, which begins with the founding of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, being an institution that has brought together illustrious personalities of Romanian science and culture, creators of scientific schools, but also outstanding personalities of European science, including nine NOBEL Prize winners.

Prof. dr. eng. Ecaterina Andronescu, Minister of National Education, highlighted Constantin Angelescu’s work as Minister of Public Education, his contribution, through fundamental decisions and reforms, to the modernisation of Romanian education. This work of Minister Angelescu, the current Minister of National Education, is in continuity with the work of the founders of our modern education, prestigious figures such as Gheorghe Lazăr, Gheorghe Șincai and Spiru Haret. Minister Angelescu understood the crucial role of education in the building of a nation, he considered it “the most important lever through which we can raise our nation” and, for this reason, he dedicated his efforts to building a modern education system, competitive at European level. His ideal he summarized in a motto as a creed: “More school! Better school! A Romanian school!”. Constantin Angelescu remains, together with Spiru Haret, one of the most important personalities of our education through his vision and his contribution to its modernisation.

Considering Constantin Angelescu “a remarkable figure of Modern Romania”, Nicolae HurducThe Minister of Research and Innovation stressed that the great personalities of science and culture are milestones in the development of Romanian civilisation and that keeping them alive in our memory and cherishing their legacy, reflecting on the meanings and values they have passed on “is a way of getting to know ourselves, to know our roots and identity, to understand our role in history and in this part of Europe, to realise our potential and to build on it, to continue the process of national construction on the foundation of the work of those who came before us.” Their evocation, the awareness of their contribution to the development of Romanian science, culture and civilisation “is an act of profound morality and responsibility in the face of history”, the minister added, congratulating the Academy of Romanian Scientists for the initiative and the event.

Constantin Bălăceanu-Stolnici, honorary member of the Romanian Academy and founding full member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists, evoked the complex personality of Constantin Angelescu, whom he knew personally. Doctor Angelescu was a great doctor, head of the surgery department at Colțea Hospital, the best hospital in Bucharest during the interwar period, founder of the School of Surgery and Urology. As a result of his proposal, the speaker confessed, made years ago to the then Minister of Justice (Prof. Dr. Valeriu Stoica), a hospital in Bucharest now bears the name “Hospitalul Clinic Prof. Dr. Constantin Angelescu”. The honoree was also a great minister, who made an important contribution to the modernization of Romanian education, a true founder in a difficult period of our history. Professor Bălăceanu-Stolnici also pointed out that Dr. Angelescu was also a man of culture and, against the backdrop of this openness, he served as President of the Romanian Athenaeum Society, an institution that was at the time a true center of our elite culture. Today, Constantin Bălăceanu-Stolnici stressed, culture is treated “lightly” and its horizons are “dark”.

The writer Dinu Săraru, founding member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists, paid tribute to the great scientist Constantin Angelescu, underlining his fundamental contribution to the modernization and development of Romanian education. He also highlighted the merit of Doctor Angelescu for having founded the Romanian Academy of Sciences, an institution of science and culture, placed at the service of the country. In this context, the novelist said that, alongside Constantin Angelescu, General (res.) Prof. Vasile Cândea, the creator of the School of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Central Military Hospital, should also be honoured, a worthy successor and continuer of the one mentioned, who “carried on the work of Dr. Angelescu”, and who reorganized and led, after 1990, the Academy of Romanian Scientists, “an academy of civilization of the Romanian country”, currently its Honorary President. At the end of his speech, Dinu Săraru criticized the decline of our culture and civilization.

Constantin Bălăceanu-Stolnici and Ioana Angelescu, granddaughter of Dr. Constantin I. Angelescu

The debate was attended by members of academia, representatives of state institutions, scientists and scholars, PhD students, students. The event was organized with the support of the Section of Historical and Archaeological Sciences (President: Prof. Ion Solcanu) and the Section of Military Sciences (President: Gen. (r) Prof. Teodor Frunzeti). In the opening, Prof. Dr. Eng. Adrian Badea, President of the Academy of Romanian Scientists, the host of the debate, said that the event is part of the series of events and scientific events organized by AOSR in the framework of the Centenary of the Great Union, which aim, on the one hand, to provide new scientific contributions to the analysis and knowledge of the historical framework, of the events of the period and their meanings, on the other hand, to promote the great moments of a century ago, the struggle of the Romanian nation for the achievement of the Great Union and the accomplishment of Greater Romania as a history lesson, with exemplary value for today’s generations, especially for young people. In this context, President Adrian Badea said that the Academy of Scientists pays programmatic attention to young people in high school and university, through programs and projects dedicated to their development in terms of scientific, cultural, moral and identity values.

The event was also attended by a representative of Dr. Constantin Angelescu’s family, Mrs. Ioana Angelescu, his granddaughter. He evoked the illustrious ancestor, presented documents from the family archive, which he exhibited to the public in a specially arranged point. Presenting a letter to Dr. Angelescu, he spoke about the cohesion and solidarity of the institutions of the interwar period, referring in particular to the Institute of Sciences of Romania (the new name, at the time, of the Romanian Academy of Sciences), the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Romanian Athenaeum. The communist regime destroyed this cohesion, destroying Romanian elites and culture. Constantin Angelescu’s generation had a very well-defined project for the country, which continued the Pasoptist ideal of building a modern Romania, of contributing to the progress of the nation through education, science, culture and civilization.

At the end of the Conference, the President of the Academy of Romanian Scientists, Prof. Adrian Badea, awarded the Jubilee Diploma and Medal “Dr. Constantin Angelescu” for outstanding merits in science and culture. He also proposed that the hall in the new building of the institution where the conference was held be named after him: “Dr. Constantin Angelescu”. Finally, the President of the AOSR announced that the organizers will publish a volume under the title Constantin I. Angelescu – 150 years since his birth.

At the end of the year, in December 2019, the volume dedicated to the event was printed, with the title DOCTOR CONSTANTIN ANGELESCU, PRESTIGIOUS PERSONALITIES OF ROMANIAN SCIENCE, EDUCATION AND CIVILIZATION – 150 YEARS AFTER HIS BIRTH.

The volume includes the following communications:

Dr. Constantin D. Angelescu, prestigious personality of Romanian science and education, founder of the Romanian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Adrian Badea


Constantin Angelescu (1869 – 1948) – short genealogical notes

Prof. Radu Ștefan Vergatti, PhD


Dr Constantin Angelescu President of the Romanian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Ioan Scurtu


Documentary evidence on the personality of Constantin Angelescu

Prof. Dr. Corneliu-Mihail Lungu


Constantin Angelescu – Nicolae Iorga, lifelong friendship

Prof. Petre Țurlea


Prime Minister of Romania in America

Ioana Angelescu Monteoru


Returns – “New York Impressions” by Dr. Angelescu

Prof. Dr. Ion Solcanu


Argument about the contours of a great personality 150 years after the birth of Dr. C. Angelescu

Prof. Dinică Ciobotea


Constantin Angelescu

Prof. Dr. Vasile Sârbu


Constantin Angelescu, doctor and scientist

Prof. Octavian Buda


Professor Dr. Constantin Angelescu surgeon and statesman

Prof. Dan Mischianu


Arc across time – 150 years since the birth of the patriot Acad. Prof. Constantin I. Angelescu (1869 – 1948) – creator of modern education in Romania

Prof. Dr. Dan Riga, Prof. Dr. Ion Bold, Prof. Dr. Sorin Riga


Constantin Angelescu Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research – “Point-of-Single Contact” for research, culture, education

Prof. Dr. Doina Banciu


Communication and Public Relations Office of the Academy of Romanian Scientists
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