Book reveals twists and turns of USC’s growth

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Book reveals twists and turns of USC’s growth


Eminent architect Hal Guida, who master-planned the USC campus.

16 March 2016

“Paul Thomas knew the figures didn’t add up from the moment he took the temporary job of planning a new university on the Sunshine Coast in 1994. Staff hired: zero. Students enrolled: zero. Buildings on campus: zero. Little money and even less time…”

As more than 12,000 students and 1,000 staff settle into USC for Semester 1, 2016, this paragraph from an early chapter of new book, ‘Visions’, reflects the incredible growth of a greenfield public university that first opened to 524 students in 1996.

‘Visions’, published by USC in its 20th anniversary year, features some of the intriguing, inspiring and challenging moments the University has faced on its journey to local, national and international recognition.

Told via the perspectives of hundreds of people from both inside and outside the University during these years, the insights include:

  • How innovative architecture and construction, master-planned in conjunction with eminent architect Hal Guida, turned former cane land “in the middle of nowhere” into a multi-award-winning Sunshine Coast campus
  • Early legislative, financial and “field” battles fought by founding Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Paul Thomas, as the new institution changed from a college to a university
  • How degrees and facilities expanded in line with demand, resources and the growth of the region and beyond, from initial courses in Arts and Business to 2014’s introduction of Law and current moves towards a medical school
  • Diverse projects both local and global reflecting the serious and lighter sides of research, which took off in USC’s second decade of operation after the arrival of current Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill.

‘Visions’, published by USC, sells for $24.95 at the Co-op Bookshop on campus at Sippy Downs. Call 5430 1205, email, go to

— Julie Schomberg

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