GRADUATES celebrated at Gladstone's CQUniversity on Thursday, where 35 undergraduates collected their degrees and one doctor of philosophy was awarded.

A ceremonial procession of academics drew awe of graduands, who sat in precise rows at the Leo Zussino Building awaiting their moment on stage.

More than 150 parents and friends packed out the building to cheer on their loved ones.

Degrees awarded included engineering, accounting, building design, business, environmental science, sport sciences, learning management, nursing, and maintenance management.

Graduate caps and degrees were thrown in the air, friends hugged and cried, and academics looked on, grinning.

Nursing graduates Clare Petrie and Stacey Dattinger were part of the buzzing crowd that packed out the courtyard for afternoon tea.

"I'm still in shock," said Ms Dattinger. "I can't believe we did it."

A Gladstone local since she was a child, Ms Dattinger has a family lineage of nurses.

"My grandma, mum, and sister are all nurses,'' she said. "There are actually more (nurses in my family) than that, but I'll stop there.

"I tried to resist for a while, I tried teaching first, but nursing won. I think we all just love helping people.''

Tannum Sands woman Clare Petrie said she first had the idea of becoming a nurse while working in administration at a hospital.

"I realised I could do the real deal. Why not?" she said.

For Ms Petrie, the flexibility of CQUniversity in offering courses that could be studied at home was important.

"The fact that you could do it externally made it possible for us to do it - people in Gladstone couldn't study nursing otherwise," she said.

Chinese scholar Yanpeng Guan was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) for his research in "analysis and design of event-triggered, networked control systems", which he said was mainly about mathematics.

Mr Guan won a scholarship to study in Australia, and began his PhD in 2010.

His family are farmers in central China's Shanxi province.

"Doing research is not easy. You must have enough motivation, or it's very difficult," he laughed.

"Actually, doing research is just very difficult."

The graduation ceremony was preceded by an address from Queensland Alumina's Mike Dunstan who urged graduands to follow their passion no matter what their chosen discipline was.

CQUniversity vice-chancellor Scott Bowman and Head of Campus Owen Nevin presented the awards to graduates.

Professor Bowman said graduation ceremonies were a real highlight of his year.

"It's really great to see them graduating in so many different areas,'' he said.

"We've got nurses, teachers, paramedics, mental health nurses, engineers.

"We try and bring as many people from the university in as we can, to show that all of the university is involved in getting them to this stage."



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