Dorothy Demeter, Iowa State University’s “First Woman in Cheese,” is Honored by Savencia Cheese USA’s $ 50K Scholarship

New Holland, PA – Savencia Cheese USA has established the Dorothy Demeter Savencia Cheese USA Undergraduate Scholarship, honoring the first woman to receive a dairy science degree from Iowa State University—and highlighting the potential of women to shine in the dairy industry.

“We know that Iowa State University was very important to Dorothy,” said Sebastien Lehembre, senior brand manager at Savencia Cheese USA. “We wanted to dedicate a scholarship in her name to honor her experience, and to help develop the next generation of innovative women cheesemakers. We hope Dorothy’s story will resonate with future generations walking in her footsteps.”

Dorothy Demeter, née Dorothy Kolb, grew up around cheesemaking as the granddaughter of Frederick Kolb, founder of Kolb-Lena Cheese Company in Lena, Illinois. At Iowa State University, Dorothy adapted quickly to a curriculum designed exclusively for men. She worked hard and prevailed, receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1953—and paving the way for future female students.

After graduation, Dorothy returned to Kolb-Lena. She and husband James C. Demeter grew the company into an award-winning artisanal and European-style cheesemaking operation, eventually selling it to Savencia Cheese USA. In late 2017, Savencia launched Dorothy’s Cheese, a product line inspired by Dorothy and including renowned, soft-ripened cheeses like Comeback Cow and Keep Dreaming.

Dorothy passed away in May 2019, but her legacy lives on. Savencia’s $50,000 commitment will create an endowed scholarship at Iowa State, providing support to outstanding female students majoring in dairy or food science, with consideration for those interested in cheesemaking.

“We have a strong tradition of cheesemaking at ISU,” said Ruth S. MacDonald, chair of the department of food science and human nutrition. “By recruiting top-quality students with an interest in dairy foods, we can rapidly advance our efforts to promote dairy food research and train the next generation.”


Savencia Cheese USA is a subsidiary of France-based Savencia Fromage & Dairy, which specializes in the production of specialty cheeses. More information about Savencia Cheese USA is available at More information about Dorothy’s Cheese is available here:

The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University. The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.5 billion, will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.