Hats off to a bright future for Mackay graduates

27 April 2023

The culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice was recognised at CQUniversity’s recent Mackay Graduation (Thursday, 27 April).

More than 140 graduates received their testamurs at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre (MECC), surrounded by a sea of proud family members, friends, teachers, and peers.

The ceremony was opened by the Chancellor Mr Graeme Innes AM, who welcomed everyone and acknowledged the achievements of the graduates.

“Each graduands study journey is unique, but no study journey is free from challenges. By persevering and committing to study, these graduates have shown exceptional resilience and adaptability,” Mr Innes said.

The inspiring human rights proponent encouraged the graduates to use their skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on the world.

“While graduation may be a celebration of the end of a study journey, it also makes the start of what will be a new journey of lifelong learning and discovery.”

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the guest speaker, Mr Steven Boxall, who, as a CQU alumnus and CEO of the Resources Centre of Excellence, inspired and motivated the new graduates as they entered their new careers.

“I am here to reassure you, the future is yours, regardless of how you feel and what your career plans might be right now,” he said.

“What I know, is that the world is your oyster. You can, and will, work in any role or industry you desire.

“We are seeing an unprecedented demand for smart, agile people, in traditional industries and new careers in new industries, like we have never seen before, and it is not going to slow down.”

He shared the details of his study journey and reflected on how the education sector has evolved.

“To be honest I had no idea where my degree would take me. Let me reassure you, it has been nothing short of an amazing journey - all thanks to the start I got here at CQU.

“I fondly remember my time here at CQU, but picture this, no actual campus in Mackay. Just a rented office space in the CBD. Our lectures were filmed in Rockhampton and came on VHS tape overnight on the Greyhound bus,” Mr Boxall said.

“We would share one computer lab with about a dozen computers at the local TAFE. To get access, sometimes we would have to go in at 2 am with our box of five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy discs under our arm, just to get access to complete an assignment.

“It is clear, CQU was well ahead of its time in creating remote delivery methods.”

The ceremony also recognised several high-achieving students, including Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) graduate, Robin Sheehy who received the school medal for outstanding academic achievement.

Student speaker Cara Pace who completed her Bachelor of Education (Secondary) with Distinction, delivered the response by the graduates.

Several research higher degree students attended the ceremony, including nine master’s and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate.

Lesley Walker Tunnah completed her PhD thesis that investigated aspects of allegory, biblical narrative structures and Christian fantasy criteria to guide the imaginative composition of a creative writing piece.