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.

2023 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Awardee

Gerald (’62 agricultural business) and Karen Kolschowsky
Sarasota, Florida

Black and white image of Karen and Jerry Kolschowsky standing in an auditorium.

Jerry and Karen Kolschowsky are deeply committed to doing all they can to overcome one of the world’s most widespread and insidious problems –hunger. And their impact is being felt.

The Kolschowskys are one of Iowa State University’s most active and generous couples. Jerry is the retired chairman and co-CEO of OSI Industries, LLC, one of the world’s largest providers of processed meats, poultry, and related products. Karen is a graduate of Michigan State University and has been active with Jerry in many of his business efforts, including trips to other parts of the world, where they saw firsthand the devastation caused by poverty and hunger.

The Kolschowskys were founding supporters of the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (SRL) program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences when they accompanied college and program officials on a trip to Uganda in 2004. Almost immediately after that trip, the Kolschowskys announced that they were permanently endowing the SRL program on a scale that would enable it to undertake a large-scale effort in Uganda.

Jerry and Karen’s involvement has benefited many areas of Iowa State University, including University Museums, athletics, the Intensive Livestock Teaching and Research Facility, and the General University Fund for Excellence. They also established the Gerald A. and Karen Kolschowsky Foundation Scholarships for minority students in agriculture. They are life members of the ISU Alumni Association and belong to the Order of the Knoll W.M. Beardshear Society and Campanile Society, and they are Cyclone Club members.

The Kolschowskys live in Oak Brook, Illinois, and have two children: Timothy and Michael (‘92 agricultural business).

Past Recipients