Am I hurting myself by learning C++ before...
No, C++ is a good way to learn about all the basics of programming, including Object Oriented programming, and memory management which might be handled for you in other languages.
There's got to be a reason the university requires C++
It is an industry standard across the world. It is quite portable as there are compilers and implementations for most platforms.
notably before my desired lang Objective-C ?
Objective-C is contemporary of C++, they appeared around the same time and take different approaches when it comes to their Object Oriented paradigms. But they are both supersets of C and as such you can mix both.
The fact is most games I worked on for mobile are C++ games with some C, Objective-C or Java providing native functions to C++ in the game code.
I actually worked on only one Objective-C game. The dev time was shorter, but the game is now stuck as an iPhone only product.
Rest assured that C++ is definitely the best choice of language you could currently start with. It's not the simplest, there are fewer standard libraries, memory management without smart pointers seems harder... But in the end, once you understand C++, you can approach other languages with a better understanding of what they provide, do and what they hide from you.
Another word: As a programmer you should not stop at one language. You will have multiple opportunities to learn other languages and different approaches... Don't shy away from acquiring these little skills and seemingly uninteresting languages. They make all the difference when you are faced with new (and increasingly challenging) problems, like building leader board servers, web games, massively distributed databases and games...
Note: If you learn both C++ and Objective-C at the same time, the experience shouldn't be too confusing as they are not so similar and the first approach of iOS dev quickly goes into the high level UI APIs while C++ digs into more low level things.
You might end-up favoring Objective-C as it comes with great APIs on Mac/iOS, it has a solid (for lack of a better word) memory management system, garbage collection, etc. But remember that in games development C++ remains the most used language
C++ deserves a place in every programmer's heart, mainly now there is much more to modern C++ than C with classes.