TAPS - Col. Karen Gutermuth

Col. Karen Gutermuth, retired professor of economics and business, died early Saturday morning following a lengthy illness.

Gutermuth taught at VMI for 13 years, retiring in December at the end of the fall semester.  She joined the VMI faculty during the 1997-98 academic year.

As an economist, Gutermuth specialized in statistics, econometrics, industrial organization, health, public policy, and money and banking. She applied the principles of her field to a range of topics, including wildlife protection and teaching ethics to undergraduates. She was respected by faculty members and cadets alike for her dedication to teaching.  She was a mentor and advocate for cadets, advising them, escorting them on VMI related outings, serving as a volunteer driver for the chaplain’s office, and being an “adopted” mom to numerous cadets.

In the fall of 2004, she received a Jackson-Hope Faculty Development Leave to conduct research for articles on medical malpractice and to prepare a new upper-level elective course on economic health care.  She has twice been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.  She received VMI’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002.

One of her most significant contributions was to the VMI Honor Court as the superintendent’s representative for seven years, two of which she was the lead representative, the first non-alumnus to attain that position.

Among her survivors is her husband, Capt. Ned Riester, VMI Class of 1978, also a member of the VMI faculty.