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History of USQ

In less than fifty years we have become a prominent multi-campus teaching and research institution providing education worldwide. Woven into the fabric of USQ is the vision and determination of many University and community members who, over the years, have been instrumental in implementing expansion and growth, shaping what we see today.

1967 Queensland Institute of Technology (Darling Downs)

On 2 December 1960 a public meeting of over 200 people from Toowoomba and surrounds led to the founding of the Darling Downs University Establishment Association under the Chairmanship of Dr Alex McGregor. Their purpose was to set up a higher education institution on the Darling Downs. The Association, with the support of the local community, lobbied government, raised funds and eventually succeeded with the formation of the Queensland Institute of Technology (Darling Downs) on 2 February 1967.

From one building in a bare green field, a Principal, eight full-time and five part-time academics, and five support staff taught our first 140 students 29 courses in engineering, business studies and science at Diploma and Certificate levels. From these humble beginnings a fine institution has grown.

1971 Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE)

In June 1971, the Institute became an autonomous multi-purpose college under the control of its own College Council.

The DDIAE approach was centred on student-focussed learning and teaching through employment-focussed curricula. Professional courses were offered in: 

  • business 
  • education 
  • engineering 
  • surveying 
  • psychology 
  • information technology 
  • communications 
  • creative and liberal arts.

The DDIAE underwent enormous growth in the student body between 1970 and 1990 and consequently, the Toowoomba campus grew immensely.

Distance education delivery became our student’s preferred study mode during the mid-1970s. By 1980, external enrolments exceeded on-campus enrolments, and provided us with the opportunity to enter the international market. During 1986-7 we accepted no less than three-quarters of Australia’s off-shore international student enrolments.

1990 University College of Southern Queensland (UCSQ)

In the late 1980s the DDIAE moved towards achieving full university status, initially as a University College for an interim period under the sponsorship of the University of Queensland.

During this time our first professors were appointed, major research programs were established, new teaching programs were introduced, and what would become a $100m capital works program over the next decade was commenced.

1992 University of Southern Queensland (USQ)

The institution gained full university status in 1992, becoming the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). The University has changed dramatically in many ways since then, including: 

  • developing a significant research profile 
  • expanding our postgraduate coursework programs 
  • establishing significant branch campuses: Fraser Coast Campus in Hervey Bay on the central Queensland coast and the Springfield Campus in Brisbane's western corridor 
  • expanding our ties with local communities, such as partnering to establish the Queensland College of Wine Tourism in Stanthorpe with the Department of Education and Training and Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE 
  • further expanding international programs including developing relationships with major off-shore centres and a strong on-shore presence through the Sydney Education Centre.
USQ: The first 40 years
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USQ Regalia
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