Retired Vermont university dean killed by gunshot on trail near campus

Honoree Fleming, a retired dean of education at Vermont State University and wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Powers, was found shot to death on a trail near the university’s Castleton Campus on Thursday afternoon, according to Vermont State Police. The 77-year-old educator is believed to have entered the trail around 4 p.m. and was discovered dead less than an hour later by a passerby. A medical examiner determined that Fleming died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Vermont university

Police are looking for a person of interest in the case, described as a male with short red hair, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a dark gray T-shirt and carrying a black backpack. Police said the suspect is considered armed and dangerous and urged the public to remain vigilant and alert for any suspicious activity. Tips can be submitted anonymously online or by calling 802-773-9101.

Investigators are also asking local businesses and residents to review their surveillance footage for any possible information. Police said they have received more than 200 tips so far, but have not identified a motive or a connection between the victim and the suspect.

Fleming was a beloved teacher and researcher

Fleming was a retired dean of education at Vermont State University, where she had worked since 2012. She was also a faculty member at Trinity College, Middlebury College, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She had a PhD in educational psychology from Columbia University and specialized in research on learning disabilities and dyslexia.

Fleming was married to Ron Powers, a Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author, who co-wrote the book “Flags of Our Fathers” about the men involved in the famous flag-raising during the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. The couple lived in Castleton, Vermont, and had two sons.

The university issued a statement on Facebook expressing its condolences and praising Fleming’s contributions to the academic community.

“Our hearts go out to the members of our community who taught with Honoree and had her as a beloved teacher during their time at Castleton,” the statement read. “Scores of students benefited from Dr. Fleming’s teachings and research. … Honoree will be deeply missed.”

Campus offers support and counseling services

The university’s Castleton Campus opened on Monday to provide a supportive environment for those who wished to come together, but students were excused from class. Regular class schedules will resume on Tuesday.

The university also offered counseling services to students, faculty, and staff who were affected by the tragedy. Anyone in need of support can contact the Wellness Center at 802-468-1346 or email

The university said it will share information about memorial services for Fleming when they become available.

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