Skip to content


Milton Hershey School History

Milton Hershey School began as a dream and vision shared by chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey and his wife, Catherine (Kitty). The Hersheys loved children but were unable to have their own. Instead, they decided to use their wealth to create a home and school for orphaned boys. The history of Milton Hershey School dates back to its founding on Nov. 15, 1909.

A Gift to Change the World

The Hersheys’ original idea for a school has grown since 1909. While our mission remains the same, curriculum and programs at MHS have evolved to meet the changing needs of lower-income families. In 2020, we expanded our impact when we announced the creation of Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, a subsidiary of MHS focused on early education. See where it all started.

Video Poster
Milton Hershey School's founders Milton and Catherine Hershey had a vision to help children from low-income to have a fair chance to achieve success.

Mr. & Mrs. Hershey

Milton and Catherine Hershey each had storied lives filled with both personal and professional accomplishments. Trace their dedication to community from their childhoods to the creation of The Hershey Industrial School.

Meet Mr. HersheyMeet Mrs. Hershey

Explore Founders Hall

Drag to see a 360-degree view of Milton Hershey School Founders Hall. Then, click to engage with interactive content.

a person with her hands on her hips

A Mother’s Love and Inspiration

The value of hard work and perseverance was instilled in Mr. Hershey by his mother, Fanny. She, like all parents, wanted more for her son than she believed she could provide.

Read Fanny's ImpactMission Driven

Milton Hershey School's Department of School History is located in Kinderhaus.

Maintaining Memories

The school history department maintains MHS artifacts and records, hosts exhibits, and provides research assistance. They also accept artifact donations to preserve MHS history.

About the Life of Milton S. Hershey

Thought Leadership

Milton Hershey was the original thought leader of Milton Hershey School. To carry out his vision and mission, MHS hires industry leaders to best serve our students so they can break the cycle of poverty.

The Deed of Trust founding Milton Hershey School was signed by Milton and Catherine Hershey in 1909.

Deed of Trust

In 1909, both Milton and Catherine Hershey signed the Deed of Trust for The Hershey Industrial School. The historic document established guidelines for the school.

Read the Deed of Trust

A Dream Realized

The first 10 students of what was then called the Hershey Industrial School started school in 1910. They lived in the Homestead, the birthplace of Milton Hershey. Classes were held in the same building.

With a philosophy ahead of its time, the school educated the whole child. The children received:

Today’s students receive the same opportunities and more at MHS.

Newspaper clipping about Milton Hershey's legacy to the school.

A Legacy Sustained

In 1918, three years after Catherine Hershey died, Mr. Hershey gave his entire fortune to the school. He continued to actively support the school and students until he died on Oct. 13, 1945.

Today, Milton Hershey School continues the tradition of preparing children to lead productive and fulfilling lives. It provides a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school for children from low-income families.

The Hersheys’ legacy and vision lives on in its students and alumni. Their generosity has touched the lives of thousands.

Do you know a child who could benefit from the opportunities offered at MHS today? Our admissions and enrollment process can help you determine if MHS is the right fit.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.