George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award

This citation honors distinguished College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni and/or friends who have demonstrated outstanding achievement or leadership in making significant, influential, or innovative contributions to society. Selection is made by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This award was established in 2005 and is presented annually during Iowa State University’s Homecoming Weekend. Click here for the nomination form. Nominations are due the third Tuesday in November.

2022 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Awardee

Christopher E. Nelson (Friend of Iowa State University)
Cumming, Iowa

Christopher E. Nelson

For 29 years, Chris Nelson has served as president and CEO of Kemin Industries, a global ingredient manufacturer for human and animal health and nutrition, pet food, aquaculture, nutraceuticals, food technologies, crop technologies, textiles, biofuel, and animal vaccines. Under Nelson’s leadership, Kemin generates over $1.2 billion in revenue per year and employs more than 3,500 people in more than 90 countries.

After graduating from Washington State University with a doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics, Nelson began at Kemin as director of research and development. Nelson holds 10 patents and has authored numerous published research studies. He was named one of the top 100 CEO Leaders in STEM by STEMConnector and Entrepreneur of the Year for Life Sciences in the Central Midwest by Ernst & Young.

His affinity toward Iowa State is evident through Kemin’s support of professorships, scholarships, and building projects. These include the Dr. John Patience Professorship in Applied Animal Nutrition, the Paul and Candace Flakoll Scholarship, and the renovation of the ISU Food Microbiology Laboratory. Recently, Kemin committed to providing a SalCurb system to reduce biosecurity issues at Iowa State’s Kent Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex.

Nelson is a board member for MercyOne Des Moines and previously served as co-chair of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. He has served as a board member for the Science Center of Iowa, Habitat for Humanity, Des Moines Symphony, and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalitions Iowa Advisory Council.

Past Recipients