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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- A stable home life
- A rigorous course of academic learning
- Additional learning in agricultural and vocational disciplines
Today’s students receive the same opportunities and more at MHS.
Explore Founders Hall
Drag to see a 360-degree view of Milton Hershey School Founders Hall. Then, click to engage with interactive content.
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.