Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMU) celebrated the largest graduating class in its 24-year history on Saturday, August 13. Graduates from 13 different programs received 166 degrees and certificates, including 62 doctorates and 94 master’s degrees, and 10 certificates.
With over 3,000 RMU alumni who are practicing healthcare professionals and educators throughout the US, Saturday’s commencement also celebrated RMU’s first graduating class of Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling and Master of Science in School Counseling students. This program was started in 2020 to help meet the demand for mental health providers in Utah and across the nation. In addition, the Master of Science in Athletic Training Practice (MSATP) program graduated its first student from the program.
Founding President and CEO Richard P. Nielsen, PT, DHSc, ECS, admonished students for their efforts throughout their academic journeys, telling students, “You have demonstrated your ability to dedicate yourself to a noble purpose, to persevere in the face of difficulties, and to defer immediate gratification for something more important and more significant in the future. That future has now arrived!”
The ceremony featured keynote remarks from Sandra L. Pennington, PhD, RN. Pennington retired from RMU in 2021 after two decades of service at the university in various roles, the last of which as Chief of Staff to the President and the University’s Accreditation Liaison Officer to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In addition to speaking, Pennington was awarded the Administrator Emeritus Award, which recognizes and acknowledges administrators for their years of outstanding dedication.
Pennington shared with the graduates six principles for living their best lives, emphasizing traits such as happiness, gratitude, service, balance, and resilience. She encouraged students to “strengthen their mindset” by overcoming challenges and “share their gratitude” by becoming involved in service opportunities.
Following the conferral of the degrees by RMU Co-Founder and Board of Trustee Chair Mike Skurja, Jr., DPT, ECS (Emeritus), President Nielsen invited students to “go forth to advance healthcare and to effect change–in your personal life, in your family, in your profession, with your patients, your neighbors, those you love, those you meet for the first time, and for the world at large.”
RMU graduates received graduate degrees from the following academic programs:
- Doctor of Philosophy in Pediatric Science
- Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences (with concentrations in Athletic Training, Health Promotion & Wellness, Human & Sport Performance)
- Doctor of Medical Science (with concentrations in Healthcare Leadership & Administration, Healthcare Professions Education, Psychiatry)
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies
- Master of Science in Athletic Training Practice
- Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
- Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Master of Science in School Counseling
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner
- Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certificate
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate
- Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology
- Doctor of Occupational Therapy
- Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy – Pediatric Science
The commencement ceremony recording and program are available for viewing here.