ASTOUNDING: See how CQUniversity has evolved over 25 years
IN JUST 25 years, CQUniversity has grown from one campus to 25 nation-wide catering for over 30,000 enrolled students and 90,000 registered alumni.
Despite its official classification as a 'young university', the institute's early days can be traced back to 1889.
This was the year a sub-committee was set up to build a technical college for the growing city of Rockhampton, which would eventually become CQ TAFE.
In 1967, education opportunities again expanded for Central Queenslanders.
The Rockhampton campus of the Queensland Institute of Technology (Capricornia) opened in 1967.
Strong presence in distance education and campuses in Gladstone, Mackay, Bundaberg and Emerald followed for the institute, which by 1990 was known as University College of Central Queensland.
Now, almost half of students are studying off-campus.
The University of Central Queensland was established in 1992.
Vice-Chancellor and President of CQUniversity Australia Professor Scott Bowman described this as a "significant milestone” for Central Queensland as a whole.
"The establishment of a fully-fledged university based in Australia's Beef capital, with satellite campuses in Bundaberg, Emerald, Gladstone and Mackay, meant that the region had come of age and was now on par with our city counterparts,” he said.
"Young people no longer had to leave home to get a university education and even better, those who didn't have the means to move to Brisbane were able to access higher education in their own backyard.
"Young people who would have otherwise stayed in the city after study were staying in Central Queensland to start their careers or new businesses.
"Now, 25 years on, some of those students who were with us at the beginning, are still here.
"Some have even witnessed their own children follow in their footsteps and graduate from this university.”
Three years ago, the university took another historic step.
A merger with CQ TAFE saw over 175 years of experience combine to become Queensland's first dual sector, comprehensive university.
There are over 300 courses offered, from certificates to undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees.
In its 25 years, CQUniversity has been recognised among the world's top institutions by the Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings.
Prof Bowman believes the region wouldn't be the same without the university.
"The university is now a part of the region's identity and the lives it has changed and opportunities it has provided are immeasurable,” he said.
Chancellor John Abbott said the universty's role in the region couldn't be underestimated.
"It is astounding to think about what this university has been able to achieve in just over two decades,” he said.
"My association with CQUniversity began long before official university status was granted.
"I had not long completed my engineering studies in Brisbane and had relocated to Gladstone.
"I had been engaged as part of my role in local industry to help inform the development of engineering studies at the then Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education.
"I went on to become a tutor for the program and have since continued my involvement with this great institution in a number of different roles.
"I firmly believe CQUniversity sets the standard when it comes to regional advancement and collaboration with community and industry, to bring about beneficial economic and social outcomes.
"This is extremely important and something that everyone connected to CQUniversity should be very proud of.”