Skip to content

Sky’s the limit: Former pilot makes university return

And now it's time for a big ConGRADulations!

A sharp mind is one of our greatest tools – and it’s this sentiment that has driven Keith Mackenzie’s career and learning to new heights.

Having grown up with a passion for maths, Keith entered the world of civil engineering, working as an Engineer with the Queensland Water Resources Commission for a number of years before launching a long and successful career as a QantasLink pilot.

Following his retirement from flying, Keith had been on the hunt for a new challenge when he embarked on an Undergraduate Certificate of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Southern Queensland.

“I believe that education is for life. I always wanted to keep studying – I needed the stimulus,” Keith said.

“I found myself with a bit of time on my hands, so when I saw the University certificate come up I thought that’s something I could do.

“Although engineering processes have changed since I last graduated, maths remained much the same - I really enjoyed learning more about the different engineering materials and using mathematical models during the program.”

On Tuesday night, Keith graduated at a University of Southern Queensland summer ceremony at the Empire Theatre as his wife, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, proudly watched on.

“Graduations are really important for both students and families,” Keith said.

“I was the first in my family to go to university, so for them to see me graduate was an exciting moment.

“My wife wasn’t there for the first one, so this is for her.”

When it comes to future endeavours, Keith hasn’t ruled out more study.

“There are a couple of engineering graduate certificate and postgraduate courses available, so I might pursue one of those,” Keith said.

“Being a pilot was quite intense, we had rigorous checks, equivalent to a final exam every six months that we had to study for, in addition to flight checks on abnormal and emergency procedures.

“I want to keep that momentum going – it’s important to be both physically and mentally active.

“I still do a bit of running, so it’s now on to working my mind. I see education as solving many of the issues in our society.”

man walking across the stage
Following his retirement from flying, Keith had been on the hunt for a new challenge when he embarked on an Undergraduate Certificate of Engineering Fundamentals at the University of Southern Queensland.