Gift from The Nelson Foundation Supports Food Science Lab Renovation at Iowa State University

May 13th, 2015

AMES, Iowa — A gift from The Nelson Foundation will make possible the renovation of the Food Science teaching laboratory at Iowa State University.

The Nelson Foundation’s support will transform a 1,950-square-foot teaching laboratory into a modern facility with up-to-date equipment and space to enhance the student learning experience in food chemistry and food microbiology courses.

“We are grateful to The Nelson Foundation for this generous donation,” said Ruth MacDonald, chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “It’s a significant step forward in a goal to renovate our department’s teaching labs. We've had a great working relationship with Nelson family and Kemin Industries for many years. With the company’s support, the renovated teaching laboratory will help us accommodate a growing number of undergraduate students interested in pursuing food science and culinary food science majors. The project will positively impact the quality of our teaching for decades to come.”

The Nelson Foundation and Kemin Industries consider the food science project a perfect fit. Iowa State University, Mary Nelson’s alma mater, has food chemistry and microbiology programs that provide students with their first opportunity to learn about food safety. The focus on food safety and scientific testing is key to the type of work that is done at Kemin Industries. 

“We see great value in having students graduate with a solid education and hands-on experience so they are ready to tackle the food challenges of tomorrow,” said Mary Nelson, co-founder and vice president of Kemin Industries.

The laboratory renovation in the Food Sciences Building will begin later this year with completion in 2016.

Kemin, based in Des Moines, provides “inspired molecular solutions” specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals. Committed to feed and food safety, Kemin maintains top-of-the-line manufacturing facilities where approximately 500 specialty ingredients are made for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. A privately held, family-owned and operated company, Kemin has nearly 2,000 employees and operates in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University is among the top programs in the nation, currently enrolling 612 undergraduates and 95 graduate students. Administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Sciences, the department offers five undergraduate majors (culinary food science, food science, dietetics and nutritional science); two programs to earn concurrent bachelor’s and master’s degrees; and a program to earn concurrent bachelor’s degree in food science and master’s in business administration. The department offers graduate degrees in food science and technology and in nutritional sciences.


Ruth MacDonald, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-5991,
Penny Woods, Kemin Industries, (515) 559-5288,
Brian Meyer, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0706,