University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba Campus Afternoon Tea
Member for Toowoomba South, the Honourable Mr David Janetzki MP; Member for Toowoomba North, the Honourable Mr Trevor Watts MP; Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council, Councillor Paul Antonio and Councillors; University of Southern Queensland Chancellor, Mr John Dornbusch and Mrs Margaret Dornbusch; Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Makenzie and Mr Keith Mackenzie; Council Members; Members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I’d like to thank Elder, Uncle Wayne Fossey for his Welcome to Country. I would also like to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands and waterways on which we gather this afternoon. I pay my sincerest respects to Elders, past, present and emerging and acknowledge that these lands have always been places of teaching and learning. I extend my respects to any First Nations people here with us today.
I have just had the pleasure of being guided through A Walk Amongst the Trees with David Hinchliffe, and may I just say what a spectacular exhibit it is!
My congratulations go out to Arts and Exhibition Curator, Ms Brodie Taylor, the artist Dr David Hinchliffe and all of the artists associated with the project, some of whom I had the privilege of meeting.
Their exceptional talent has created an outstanding exhibit which is diverse in aesthetic beauty, but united in concept. The University of Southern Queensland is rightfully renowned for the beauty of the Ju Raku En, and this collaboration of ideas, visions and techniques captures the iconic Japanese Garden in a unique way.
For many people Toowoomba is synonymous with the Carnival of Flowers, and the Japanese garden is one of the centrepieces of the festival.
And so, an exhibit inspired by the Japanese Garden is a fitting way to mark the 55/30 anniversary, in this milestone year for the University of Southern Queensland.
Reaching 55 years as an educational institution and 30 years as a university is a significant achievement.
From its beginning in 1967 as the Queensland Institute of Technology (Darling Downs), through its iterations as The Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education and the University College of Southern Queensland, to the current University of Southern Queensland, USQ has been at the forefront of innovation and academic excellence.
In 1977 it pioneered Distance Education; it launched off-shore offerings in the 1980s; and it was one of the first universities to establish a dedicated office for First Nations students in 1986.
2007 saw the opening in Stanthorpe of the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, a joint venture between the University of Southern Queensland and the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
Last week my husband Graeme and I had the pleasure of visiting the College, and I got to hear firsthand how this partnership is impacting the lives and future pathways of students.
This impact has always been the core business of USQ, since it officially opened its doors in 1967 to 140 students and 13 staff members. Today, over 26,000 students and more than 2,500 staff study and work across the Toowoomba, Ipswich and Springfield campuses.
It has been an exciting 55 years, and the university, its alumni, staff and students can look forward with quiet confidence to many more years of research and scholastic excellence.
And now, with congratulations and best wishes, I am honoured to formally launch the University of Southern Queensland's 55/30 Anniversary year.