Rocky Mountain University (RMU) celebrated its final graduating class of 2022 on Friday, December 9. A total of 120 graduates from 11 different programs received academic distinctions consisting of doctorate degrees, masters degrees, and certificates.
This was the final commencement ceremony as acting Founding President and CEO of RMU for Richard P. Nielsen, PT, DHSc, ECS, who has served in this capacity since the institution’s inception nearly 25 years ago.
“I have handed out approximately 3,400 diplomas to RMU graduates who are now somewhere in the world treating millions of patients, doing research, teaching, volunteering, and more,” Nielsen said. “Today we add another 120 graduates – to that growing list of incredible alumni.”
RMU awarded Jeff Rogers, founder of Child Legacy International, an honorary doctorate of philanthropy and humanitarianism, the highest award the institution can bestow, with admiration for the extraordinary impact he has made on underserved communities in Africa.
The Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to Lisa Dannemiller, PT, DSc, PCS Emeritus, a graduate of RMU’s Doctor of Science in Pediatric Science (DSc) program. Dannemiller has contributed substantially to clinical practice, research, and instruction in the field of physical therapy for over 42 years.
The University also presented the Early Career Alumni Award to Paige Harasha, PA-C, MPAS, a graduate of Rocky Mountain University’s (RMU) Masters of Physician Assistant studies (MPAS) program. Having practiced professionally for less than five years, Harasha has already made a profound impact on the cancer patients in the Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City where she works.
The ceremony featured keynote remarks from President Nielsen, PT, DHSc, ECS, and his wife, Jodi Nielsen, who shared with graduates four life lessons learned from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in East Africa. They emphasized the importance of having a positive attitude, keeping aloof of distractions, taking slow and consistent steps, and daring greatly for your dreams.
Following the conferral of the degrees by RMU Co-Founder and Board of Trustee Chair Mike Skurja, Jr., DPT, ECS (Emeritus), Malissa Martin, RMU’s Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, EdD, ATC/L, challenged graduates to “Continue to search for answers to the many questions that remain unanswered and to make the world a happier and better place.”
The 2022 graduating class received graduate degrees from the following academic programs:
- Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences (with concentrations in Health Promotion & Wellness, Human & Sport Performance, and Neurologic Rehabilitation)
- Doctor of Medical Science (with concentrations in Advanced Clinical Practice, Healthcare Professions Education, and Psychiatry)
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies
- Master of Science in Health Science (with concentrations in Rehabilitative Science and Sports Performance)
- Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Master of Science in School Counseling
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate
- Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology
- Doctor of Occupational Therapy (with concentrations in Advanced Practice, Hand Therapy, Education, Leadership, and Pediatrics)
- Doctor of Physical Therapy
The commencement ceremony recording and program are available for viewing here.