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Community stalwarts accept Honorary Awards in Mackay

Community stalwarts accept Honorary Awards in Mackay

Published:16 May 2018

Dr Victor Mason and Brian O’Neill’s long affiliation with CQUni has been lauded with Honorary Awards of Companion of the University.

Community leaders Brian O’Neill and Dr Victor Mason have been conferred with the Honorary Award of Companion of the University, at CQUniversity Mackay’s annual graduation ceremony.

Mr O'Neill, the Calen District State College Principal, and retired engineer Dr Mason were acknowledged in recognition of their strong advocacy of CQUniversity, the education industry and students within the region.

CQUniversity Chancellor John Abbott said Mr O’Neill and Dr Mason have both had a longstanding involvement with the University, particularly the Mackay Campus, and have made considerable contributions to its projects.

“We have been exceedingly fortunate to have the support of Mr O’Neill and Dr Mason.  Through their knowledge and collaboration, we have seen many projects realised and achieved positive results for the local community and CQUniversity,” Mr Abbott said.

As a teacher based in regional locations for more than 30 years and as Principal of Calen District State College for the past 18 years, Mr O’Neill has been a strong advocate of CQUniversity and its student programs.

“CQUni’s Start Uni Now (SUN) program allows year 10, 11 and 12 students to undertake study units whilst still attending high school.  Mr O’Neill’s support and promotion of the program has resulted in a high level of SUN enrolments transitioning to CQUni, including from Calen District State College, one of the smallest schools in our region,” Mr Abbott said.

“Mr O’Neill’s commitment also extends to his roles as President of the Society for Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA), as State President of the Queensland State P-10/12 School Administrator’s Association, as a casual lecturer at the Mackay City Campus and facilitating the success of Calen District State College’s Different Strokes – Different Spokes for Different Folk program.”

Dr Mason maintained a distinguished career as an Engineer within the Australian sugar and coal industries.  During this time, he undertook various committee roles with CQUniversity and the Mackay community.

“For 10 years, Dr Mason has been a member of the University’s Council and related sub-committees and was a previous Chair of the Mackay Advisory Committee which supported the strategic direction of the Campus,” Mr Abbott said.

“During his professional career, Dr Mason was always well regarded and increasingly involved with both the Australian and International Societies of Sugar Cane Technologists (ISSCT) where he held roles as president of the Australian Society, Section Chair and Factory Commissioner and Chair of the Technical Programme Committee.”

“On a local level, Dr Mason has been an active member of the community with roles in the Mackay ABC Concert Subscribers Committee, Mackay North State High School Parents and Citizens Association, and Rotary.”

Mr O’Neill and Dr Mason joined 114 graduates at the Mackay ceremony, including five who completed Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses and two who completed Research Higher Degrees.