Former army man takes over USQ Fraser Coast campus

New University of Southern Queensland Fraser Coast head of campus and executive manager Brett Langabeer at Hervey Bay Marina.
New University of Southern Queensland Fraser Coast head of campus and executive manager Brett Langabeer at Hervey Bay Marina. Jocelyn Watts

IT'S the end of a journey for one Fraser Coast educator and the start of a whole new adventure for another.

Associate professor Trudy Yuginovich has retired from her position as provost at the University of Southern Queensland's Fraser Coast campus.

She was the last provost to preside over the Fraser Coast campus.

A new position has now been created, with the title of head of campus and executive manager to be filled by former Hervey Bay State High School student Brett Langabeer.

Softly spoken, modest and possessing a quirky sense of humour, Trudy has been in the role for 11 months, replacing former provost Ken Stott, but her history with USQ goes back 20 years.

She first started working at the Toowoomba campus before moving to the Fraser Coast to commission the Bachelor of Nursing.

In 2002 when the degree was first offered at the campus, Trudy was the only person teaching the courses and there were 11 students.

This year 270 students did the degree.

Trudy is proud of the progress and developments she has seen and presided over in her 10 years on the Fraser Coast.

She described her time at USQ as an "adventure".

"My time with USQ has been a good adventure," associate professor Yuginovich said.

"It's been a good place to work. I've done everything I wanted - lots of interesting things.

"I've particularly enjoyed the provost role. It's been different with lots of meetings and community agendas, but it's time to retire."

Her role as provost saw her take on an administrative role, creating new initiatives and working to increase community engagement.

Brett will continue her work in those areas.

"I'm the ghost of Fraser Coast past and Brett will lead it into the future," Trudy said.

Brett understands fully the challenges of his position, as well as the struggles young people face in continuing their education.

Brett dropped out of high school in Year 10.

He had decided to learn a trade and joined Hervey Bay Plastering as an apprentice.

He was there for three months before he realised it was not what he wanted to do with his life.

He then got a job at Woolworths in Pialba before his dad informed him he had bigger plans for Brett's future, encouraging him to join the Australian Defence Force.

Brett enlisted in the infantry division and spent the next 22 years in the defence force.

He graduated through the ranks and eventually became a captain, while he also furthered his education in the subjects of linguistics and supply chain.

His final task before leaving the army was to oversee and co-ordinate the first Australian security detachment deployed to Iraq.

He then returned to the Fraser Coast and applied for a job at the Hervey Bay campus of USQ.

He was originally employed as the executive officer for finance, then as the business manager and now as Head of Campus.

Brett credits former provost Ken Stott as being a mentor for him over the years.

Brett does not have a background in academia, which has been a hallmark of former Fraser Coast provosts.

But Brett said he would bring his own unique flavour to the role.

He is still undertaking studies of his own as he seeks to complete a master's degree in project management.

He emphasised his commitment to providing education to people of all ages on the Fraser Coast.

"Education is a lifelong commitment to your own development and continues from the early years right through to your senior years," he said.

One of his goals is to bring as much flexibility as possible to the undertaking of study, allowing students to fit education around other priorities in their lives such as work and family.

"There are tremendous demands placed on students these days to balance part-time and in some cases full-time work too, family commitments, and a raft of demands that can make life hectic.

"This is why the campus will be striving to provide flexibility to our students and aiming to look at new ways to provide access to broader education options while being supported locally."

While Brett continues to promote education on the Fraser Coast, Trudy will move to Ipswich with her husband Peter next week to be closer to her family.

Trudy is planning to spend more time gardening, cooking, playing the Celtic harp and travelling and maybe even learning a new language.

Trudy also has 12 grandchildren whom she is looking forward to spending time with.

"Then I'll wear red hats, purple dresses and red socks and basically, grow old disgracefully," she said.

"I'll never be a grey nomad though.

"I can't imagine driving down the highway at 80kmh for hours on end.

"If I could afford to buy a motorhome, I could afford to fly, stay in motels and hire cars."

Topics:  campus fraser coast university of southern queensland usq

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