RMU December Commencement a Testament to Loving and Lifting

by | Dec 15, 2023 | home feature, home highlight, News

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153 healthcare professionals celebrated the beginning of their journey to improve the human condition 

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) continued its silver jubilee year celebration by honoring 153 graduates during the December Commencement ceremony on Friday, December 15, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.

The need to love and lift others was emphasized throughout the event, including in speeches by RMU President Cameron K. Martin, and by United Way of Utah County President & CEO, Bill Hulterstrom, the keynote speaker. Service has been one of RMU’s core values since the University was founded in 1998.

“An RMU education is about advancing knowledge and the efficacy of healthcare to improve the human condition,” President Martin said. “Every RMU student who advances through our graduate-level programs leaves with the education and training needed to be successful in their chosen healthcare profession. They also leave with a moral charge to love and lift those in need and those they serve and work among. As our graduates step into the world, they are equipped with the best possible training in hand and RMU’s commitment to improving the human condition in their hearts.”

“I want you in your professions, your practices, and in your life to become a connector,” Hulterstrom said. “As we spend our professional careers trying to make people healthier and stronger, we have the solution, and that’s within us.”

This event, featuring 124 graduates in attendance and an additional 29 participating online, was RMU’s third and final Commencement ceremony of 2023. In total, 443 RMU students received a graduate degree or certificate this year.

“RMU has so much to celebrate this year — our 25th anniversary, the arrival of our first cohort for the new Doctor of Optometry and entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy programs, and moving into our new state-of-the-art headquarters,” President Martin said. “But this December’s Commencement, the year’s final celebration, is what RMU is all about — our students. We look forward with excitement to see what our newest graduates accomplish as they work to meet the healthcare workforce needs throughout our nation.”

This Commencement also acknowledged the achievements of faculty and alumni, including presentations to the 2023 Faculty Teaching Award and the 2023 Alumni Awards recipients.

Dr. Kelsey Campbell Hopkinson, a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Assistant Professor, was awarded the 2023 Rising Star Teaching Award. This faculty award is for individuals who demonstrate outcomes related to excellence in teaching and have been with the University full-time for less than five years at the rank of Assistant Professor. 

Dr. Leah I. Fullman was awarded the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Fullman serves on RMU’s Board of Trustees and is a graduate of the Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD) program.

Dr. Tim Hughes received the 2023 Early Career Alumni Award. Dr. Hughes is the owner and CEO of Elevate Physical Therapy clinics in southern Utah. He graduated from RMU in 2019 from the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

In all, RMU awarded 110 doctorate degrees, 36 master’s degrees, and seven certificates. Graduate degrees were given from the following academic programs: 

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences
  • Master of Science in Athletic Training Practice
  • Master of Science in Health Science 
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certificate 
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Doctor of Medical Science 
  • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Master of Science in School Counseling
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Certificate
  • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy-Pediatric Science 
  • Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Dr. Yesenia Campos, a 2023 Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology graduate, offered the invocation and reflection. Leaning on insight gleaned from being a first-generation American who grew up in a household where English wasn’t the first language, Dr. Campos congratulated fellow RMU classmates for fortifying their resolve through challenges, for being resilient, and for pursuing knowledge on their unique journeys.

“Today, let us remember that our journey doesn’t end here,” Dr. Campos said. “Armed with our degrees, we embark on a mission to transform lives, empower individuals, and contribute to a world where every voice is heard. We are a testament to the power of education and the living proof that with hard work and determination, any goal is attainable.”

“Look at the RMU logo on your diploma cover. Do you see your hand, the RMU hand?” President Martin said. “Never forget that your hand and name are forever connected with the name and brand of this amazing university. Both represent a dedication to a cause greater than self — our mission to love and lift the one as we improve the human condition for the many. Together we can. Together we will.”

RMU looks forward to seeing the impact this newest class of graduates will make in the healthcare field.