HUI, XII, 2021, 113-136

Historia Universitatis Iassiensis 12, 113–136

Cătălin Botoșineanu | The First Agronomist Professors at the University of Iași: Haralamb Vasiliu and Agricola Cardaș

Abstract. In the history of the modern university, agricultural research was a rather late addition to the list of academic fields of study. Dedicated programs became the foundation of independent institutions as late as the end of the nineteenth century. Agricultural academies, institutes or colleges bear witness to the effort of trying to integrate essentially practical research with an obviously utilitarian purpose into academia. After the end of the eighteenth century, the German area saw the development of budding agricultural studies and academic programs. The first department of agriculture was established in 1788 at Prague University under the leadership of professor Shönbauer. Romania was, at the end of the nineteenth century, an important state at the level of agricultural production. For example, in 1900, the young Danube state exported the third amount of wheat in the world after the USSR and the USA. In 1914, corn had been planted on over 50% of the cultivated area, so that in the mid-'20s Romania became the second largest exporter of corn in the world after Argentina. At the end of the '30s this trend continued, Romania staying in top four states of corn producers in the world, alongside Italy and the USA. These facts were not due to any solid agricultural knowledge. The great Romanian agricultural scientists lamented the Romanian state’s lack of involvement in the process of developing agricultural higher education. Agricultural colleges could not replace the needs of agricultural scientists with a solid theoretical and scientific background. It was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that agricultural chemistry became part of the Iași and Bucharest curricula. At the University of Iași, Haralamb Vasiliu in agricultural chemistry, starting with 1907, and Agricola Cardaș in zootechnics, starting with 1913, were the professors who shaped agricultural education in the former Moldavian capital. The goal of my study is to reveal the importance of the two agricultural sciences professors of Iași, Haralamb Vasiliu and Agricola Cardaș, compared to the development of the interwar Romanian higher education, beyond their inevitably exacerbated local posterity. They were both pioneers first in Iași, then in Chișinău. H. Vasiliu in particular giving five or six classes to agricultural students, thus meeting some of the training needs of future agricultural specialists. Their agricultural theories, exhibited at multiple fairs, the frontiers they pushed beyond the agricultural curricula made them better practitioners despite the limited literature produced at the time. Their work in the agricultural chemistry and zootechnics departments, as well as the huge legacy left to the school of Iași and Moldova have turned the names Haralamb Vasiliu and Agricola Cardaș into synonyms for founders.