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  • Sincerely, Southern

Age ain't nothing but a number: Jean Vintilescu

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

BY: Jamie Deloach, Print Reporter

[STATESBORO] You're living in communist Romania where you were born and raised, and you want a better life for yourself and your family. What would you do?

Jean Vintilescu’s answer was to come to America in 1985 moving to the nation's capital. Vintilescu, an engineer, came to America knowing that it was the best thing to do for his family.

“I wanted to immigrate for my kids to have a future,” he said.

Vintilescu described life in Romania as a regular totalitarian state, very structured and controlled.

After moving to Washington, D.C. he continued to work in the engineering business, just like he had done for fifteen years in Romania.

After his time in D.C., Vintilescu eventually moved to Florida and retired from the engineering business, but after living the retired life for a couple of years, Vintilescu knew that it was not for him.

Despite his age, he decided that he wanted to go to college and get a degree in International Studies. Vintilescu lacked structure in his life following his retirement, but returning to school reinstated the structure he desired.

“I forced myself to get into this type of structure, because otherwise it is very difficult,” he said.

School was not just something to keep Vintilescu busy, it also allowed him to continue to pursue his passion to learn.

When Vintilescu first came to Georgia Southern he had no idea what he wanted to study. Willam Biebuuyck, an international studies professor, was the main reason for Vintilescu deciding his major. His food and security class solidified Vintilescu’s decision.

“I went to the International Studies department Professor Biebuyck actually saw me and invited me to his class,” he said “I liked the class so much I decided to go to International Studies. I didn’t have any expectations in the beginning, but I eventually ended up taking four classes.”

Vintilescu attributes his success during his time at Georgia Southern to many different professors like Biebuyck and fellow international studies professor Jacek Lubecki. Lubecki and Vintilesu meet every week, mostly just to catch up on life rather than discuss the latter’s schooling.

“Jean is a very knowledgeable man, he knows anything about any subject whether it’s religion, school, anything you want to talk about he knows,” Lubecki said. “I always look forward to our weekly talks, even though both of us have been really busy lately.”

“Every time he’s near my office he stops by and we talk,” Biebuyck said. “It’s just inspiring that someone his age is doing what he’s doing.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in international studies, Vintilescu is now enrolled in the university’s master’s program in public administration.

Public administration is completely out of Vintilescu’s normal realm, but once again, it allows him to continue to educate himself - a lifelong passion of his.

“I learn so much in budgeting, financial management, public policy, and ethics,” said Vintilescu. “It's a lot.”

While Vinitlescu is unsure what he wants to do when he finishes up his master’s degree, the workings of city councils have alway been of interest to him.

“I would really apply to help some communities to develop in Statesboro and even surrounding areas,” Vintilescu said.

Trenton Davis, the public administration chair, is who he credits for getting him into the masters program.

He admires a plethora of other professors as well, such as Christian Cary, Kristina Patterson, Jayce Sudweeks, Candice Bodkin, Patricia Kraeger and Rebecca Badgett who have helped him throughout his time in the public administration program. He also credits the library staff such as Lisa Carmichael, Katia Karadjova, and Jessica Garner for their endless support.

“I knew many colleges in Georgia, but I knew Georgia Southern was close and I think I made the right choice, it’s the quality of professors and of the city,” Vintilescu said. “For you it is a sleepy town, but for me it’s fine. I think I’m at the right age at the right place.”

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