Each year, the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce presents the Pillar of the Valley award “to honor an individual or individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the business, civic, social, educational, and cultural climate of Utah Valley.” Former recipients of the award have included names such as John Valentine, the Woodbury family, Stephen R. Covey, Rebecca D. Lockhart, Wilford Clyde, Dallin H. Oaks, Alan and Suzanne Osmond, Carine Clark and Steve Densely. On Friday, September 9, Curtis Blair, CEO and President of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce (UVCC), and the chamber team members made a surprise visit to Rocky Mountain University to announce Richard P. Nielsen, PT, DHSc, ECS, Founding President and CEO as the 2023 recipient of the Pillar of the Valley award.
Committee chair Kate Bowcutt announced, “Every once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, someone ordinary becomes legendary. It is our honor to present to you the chamber’s 2023 Pillar of the Valley, Dr. Richard P. Nielsen.” An awestruck Nielsen had tears in his eyes as those present rose to their feet for a standing ovation. “I don’t know what to say,” Nielsen said, then graciously accepted the honor.
Blair shared his unique experience interviewing President Nielsen as part of the Utah Valley Chamber Chats a year ago. “I was struck by the magnitude and the mission of this man,” Blair said. “Here is a man who understands the principle of paying it forward. It was at that moment that the thought occurred to me that there is recognition to be had here.”
“It’s not about me,” Nielsen said when receiving the award. “It’s about our mission to make the world a better place through service and selflessness as we reach out to the over 10 million patients that are now being seen or treated by graduates of RMU. Every one of you has the right to have your names engraved on that pillar. It’s you who makes this happen.”
Richard P. Nielsen has served as the Founding President and CEO of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions since its inception in 1998. He also served as Founding President and CEO of the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) from its inception in 2017 to July 2021. He is a retired veteran having served in the US Army National Guard for six years and the United States Navy Medical Service Corps for over 20 years. He has co-founded, with his wife, Jodi, and their eldest daughter, Kindee, two charitable foundations (Reach The Children 1998-2006 and World of Difference 2006-present), leading service teams to Africa for over 34 years.
The 2023 Pillar of the Valley Gala will be held on April 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Utah Valley Convention Center. Reserve tickets now on the chamber’s business website.