FoundersA vision for higher learning
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) was a vision for higher learning laid out on a Sizzler napkin in 1998 by the institution’s founders, Dr. Richard P. Nielsen, Dr. Michael Skurja, Jr., and Dr. Larry T. Hall as an exclusive post-professional graduate institution. Rocky Mountain University of Physical Therapy began as a physical therapy institution on June 8, 1998, with eight students, ten faculty, and six employees.
In 2000, RMU added the Master of Physical Therapy program and changed the name from Rocky Mountain University of Physical Therapy to Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.
In 2010 RMU gained accreditation from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities.
RMU is one of the pioneer institutions for Speech-Language Pathology with a medical emphasis, adding a Doctor of Clinical Science in Speech–Language Pathology program in 2014 and a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program in 2016.
In January 2023, President Cameron Martin became the second University President in its 25-year history.
For the past 25 years, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions has helped meet our local and national healthcare needs through its 19 master’s and doctorate health-related degrees.
Dr. Richard P. Nielsen
Co-founder Dr. Richard P. Nielsen served as the founding President and CEO of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) from its inception in 1998 through 2022. During his decades of higher education leadership, Dr. Nielsen saw more than 3,700 healthcare professionals graduate from RMU. In 2023, Dr. Nielsen received the Pillar of the Valley award, the Provo Mayor’s “Exceptional Example” award and was named Utah Valley Magazine’s Person of the Year.
Before his career in academia, Dr. Nielsen served in the U.S. Army National Guard and the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps for more than 25 years, achieving the rank of Commander. Alongside his wife, Jodi, and eldest daughter, Kindee, he founded two charitable organizations: Reach the Children and World of Difference (WOD). The WOD foundation has collaborated with RMU to provide graduate students with opportunities to work in developing country hospitals and clinics in Kenya and Malawi, Africa.
Dr. Larry Hall
Co-founder Dr. Larry Hall combined a passion for higher education and scholarly work in Exercise Sciences to the beginning years of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU). Dr. Hall served as the Vice President of Student Affairs from 1998-2001 and also served on the RMU Foundation Board, contributing his expertise and guidance to the institution’s growth.
Beyond academia, Dr. Hall is renowned for his remarkable tennis career, where he was inducted into prestigious halls of fame, including the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame as a player and coach, and the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame. Even as he embarked on the journey of co-founding RMU, Dr. Hall continued to teach and serve as Department Chair at Brigham Young University, showcasing his unwavering dedication to higher education.
Dr. Michael Skurja, Jr.
Co-founder Dr. Michael Skurja, Jr. brought visionary leadership and operational expertise to the creation of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU). For twenty years, Dr. Skurja held many senior positions at RMU including Vice President of Academic Affairs, Program Director, Executive Vice President of Operations, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Continuing Education. Upon his retirement in 2018, Dr. Skurja’s leadership at RMU continued with him being the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Prior to establishing RMU, Dr. Skurja’s service to the nation spanned 23 years in the U.S. Navy where he served as a clinician, educator, and hospital administrator, and achieved the rank of Captain. Following his military service, he established a successful practice in San Diego specializing in electrophysiologic testing. Dr. Skurja’s dedication to advancing knowledge and healthcare is evidenced by his co-founding the Institute of Clinical Electrophysiology.
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (8060 165th Avenue NE Ste 100, Redmond, WA 98052-3981), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the US Department of Education.