Donate to School of Biological Sciences to honor Mark Nielsen today!

“Anatomy is your new religion”
The Legacy of Mark Nielsen

Since 1986 when Mark Nielsen began teaching in the Department of Biology (now the School of Biological Sciences) at the “U,” he has taught over 26,000 students and trained approximately 1,600 teaching assistants in the monumental science and delicate art of anatomy.

During those 32 years, Mark’s students have gone on to become doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, and pharmacists throughout the state and the country, not to mention educators and researchers and other careers and enterprises far too varied to mention.

Are you one of them?


Mark is known for his virtuoso teaching, his unflagging enthusiasm for the subject and his intuitive approach to student learning. He is also a published author of anatomy texts, not to mention a cracker jack photographer.

You can honor Mark Nielsen- external site for his years of service by making a donation in his honor. All funds will go toward undergraduate anatomy classes at the School through the established John Legler Endowed Lecturership for Human Anatomy.

Donate today and make sure you indicate “in honor of Mark Nielsen.” Then share through social media and your network this campaign to honor Mark and ensure his legacy at the U. If you’re in to hashtags, you can use #nerdfornielsen

We also want to hear your story about your time with Professor Nielsen.

  • What was it about Mark that really helped you find your passion in science, biology and/or medicine? 
  • Perhaps his impact was felt even in another career outside of science/medicine or in your life journey wherever that may have taken you. Tell us about that.
  • Who were you before his class or your experience as a TA, and who were you afterwards? We want to hear about that too.

Exceptional teachers are hard to come by in this world. Mark Nielsen is one of them. He seems to find a balance, ease and grace whether lecturing or working over a specimen; whether grading a test, or counseling with a student. Our fundraising goal during this campaign is $10,000.

As of February 1, 2019 we are at 17% of our goal. Help us meet our goal.

Likely, your association with Mark has no price. But your token gift to the U in honor of him and his extraordinary legacy will be appreciated by new students and TAs ready to hear from Mark, as you likely did on the first day of class, “Anatomy is your new Religion!”  

Donate to School of Biological Sciences to honor Mark Nielsen today!


What Mark Nielsen Thinks About Teaching

Why teach? There are probably many answers to this question. I ask myself,

  • “Do I teach because it is part of the job description?”

  • “Do I teach to gratify my ego and display my knowledge?”

  • . . . Or maybe,

  • “Do I teach because it affords a good lifestyle?”

Better yet, are there selfish motives? For as John Cotton Dana said,

There might be something to each of these answers.

As I ponder the question, Why do I teach?, different statements surface in my mind. I hear students say the following about professors: he is a good professor, or he is a good lecturer, or he knows his stuff, or he is organized.

While these statements are honorable, my favorite statement is, he is a great teacher, this guy knows how to teach. Because within my definition of a teacher lies the answer to why teach.

A teacher is not simply a knowledge source. One might profess knowledge, wisdom, and expertise, yet never truly be a teacher. Anyone can share knowledge. A teacher is someone who uses their knowledge, wisdom, and expertise to show others how to learn, how to think, and how to use knowledge as a problem-solving tool.

A teacher gives something back, motivates, and positively influences a student's career or life. This is the challenge of the teacher. It is within this context that I find my answer to why teach?

In conclusion let me quote Henry Brooks Adams: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Therefore, let me conclude by posing the better question–Why not teach?     

~Mark Nielsen

Courses Taught by Mark Nielsen at the University of Utah, including in the School of Biological Sciences

Biol 2325: Human Anatomy
Biol 3360: Vertebrate Embryology
Biol 5312: Human Dissection
Biol 5313: Teaching Anatomy
Biol 5314: Anatomy Colloquium
Biol 5315: Advanced Human Anatomy
Biol 5316: Anatomy and Physiology Colloquium

Donate to School of Biological Sciences to honor Mark Nielsen today!

Mailing address to donate by check:

University of Utah
School of Biological Sciences
257 South 1400 East, Room 202
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0840

For Payroll Deduction or On-going Pledge

Click the "UofU Employee Payroll Deduction" link.

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