THE integration of sun, surf and study at Noosa was portrayed this week with a surfboard bearing CQUniversity's logo.
After humble beginnings with the offering of one tertiary degree at Pomona's, Cooroora high school, CQUniversity has announced a $2.55 million investment at its Goodchap St, Noosaville campus.
"It's about the best news we will hear in 2012," Noosa MP Glen Elmes said at the official launch of the expansion program.
CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor Kevin Tickle said the investment will see a doubling of student capacity from 600 to 1200 over the next four years and a range of new degrees.
"On top of the expansion, we have new degrees including online law degree, a creative writing program, on-campus nursing degrees and a music program conducted in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE."
Sunshine Coast councillors Lew Brennan, Russell Green and Debbie Blumel were among guests who attended the launch. But it was particularly proud day for Cr Lew Brennan who initiated Noosa's higher education path.
"This is a huge day for me," he said.
"I'm overly possessive of the baby we made here."
Cr Brennan said the story began in 1997 with Noosa council.
"We were looking for an economic base without destroying natural resources," he said.
Research found education was a key driver in economies around the world.
He gave credit to federal school principal David Lynch and Cooroora high school Principal Peter Bradford whose commitment and vision ensured the facilities creation.
"Research showed that for every $1 invested in education by the federal government, the community receives a return of $6," Cr Brennan said.
He noted that while they had looked locally, it was CQUniversity who had taken up the challenge of creating a Noosa campus.
A learning management degree was initially started at Cooroora District high School, Pomona. After four years and gaining national recognition for excellence, the campus moved to Noosaville in 2001.
This week, two new degrees, bachelors of tourism and business have started with about a dozen internal students and a number of distance educations students.
Locally, USQ's Dr Scott Richardson has worked with Tourism Noosa industry liaison manager Juanita Bloomfield to provide students with industry links.
"The partnership has been very successful in finding industries to assist with student placement and work experience," Ms Bloomfield said.
Dr Richardson said the CQU was working with TAFE to create further educational pathways by giving credits towards appropriate degrees for completed diploma studies in tourism and events.
The university's executive described the campus as one of the worlds's most advanced learning spaces.
"It's a combination of the latest in educational design and cutting-edge audio-visual and communications technology, the Collaborative Learning Space was built to foster creativity and innovation among students through group projects and interaction," Professor Tickle said.