Office of the President
President Peter G. Gurt ’85
In August 2014, Peter G. Gurt became the 10th president of Milton Hershey School. President Gurt is an accomplished academic administrator, filling multiple leadership roles in his time at MHS. Most recently, he served as the senior vice president and chief operating officer of MHS from 2009-2014.
President Gurt understands what MHS students experience because he once was one. “I am very much aware of the significance of this job, and our commitment as a team to make sure this is the very best place on earth to serve our kids more effectively and to serve more kids in the future as we get excited about what’s possible for this school in the next decade.”
Learn more about the Office of the President and President Gurt’s role at Milton Hershey School.
Watch President Gurt’s MHS Story
Strategic Vision from the Office of the President
President Gurt designed an ambitious strategic plan to lead MHS into the future. His 2020 Vision strategy includes:
- Increasing enrollment to provide an excellent education to hundreds of new students
- Developing new approaches to support student success beyond high school
- Implementing a mission-oriented, values-based professional development model to facilitate employee growth
- Enhancing opportunities to engage parents/sponsors in the support of their students and the school
Under President Gurt’s leadership, Milton Hershey School has already celebrated many of the outcomes outlined in the 2020 Vision strategic plan, including:
- Growing to a record enrollment of more than 2,000 students
- Achieving a 93.2 percent retention rate—the highest rate in nearly 50 years
- Launching the Graduate Programs for Success division to support young graduates
- Being recognized as a 2016 National Promising Practice for the school’s character and leadership curriculum
Leadership through the Years
President Gurt has served the MHS community in other ways before assuming his current role. Before becoming president, he was vice president of student life and vice president of administration.
He always goes the extra mile for MHS. President Gurt has served as assistant coach of the MHS varsity girls’ basketball team. With his wife, Jane, he has provided support as a relief houseparent for 10 years.
President Gurt also served as an Alumni Association Board Officer and was President of the William E. Dearden Alumni Campus Advisory Board.
President Gurt has a profound, personal knowledge of the Milton Hershey School experience. He understands what students experience because it was his experience, too. He is a “lifer,” attending school from age 5 through graduation.
As a student, President Gurt took full advantage of MHS leadership and character-building activities. He was a member of many organizations, including:
- The National Honor Society
- Glee Club
- New Horizons
- Student Senate
- Student Leadership Society
- Student Cabinet
- Student Home Council
A 1985 graduate, President Gurt received significant recognition amongst his peers:
- Rotary Student of the Month
- Senior Class President
- Student Body President
He also served as a Peer Group counselor and played on the soccer and basketball teams.
Inspiration from President Gurt
President Pete Gurt plays an active role at Milton Hershey School with a presence on all corners of campus. His passion for the school is evident, and his words inspire students, faculty, and staff. Experience President Gurt’s dynamic vision for MHS.
The color gold is very special to Milton Hershey School. It is one of the school colors, and it also is deeply rooted in the MHS mission and Sacred Values. Hear President Gurt’s charge to students, staff, and alumni to Be Golden.
A Spartan is not just the Milton Hershey School mascot—it is a mindset. What are the attributes of a Spartan? President Gurt shares the four Spartan qualities necessary to thrive: Courage, Determination, Loyalty, and Resilience.
Giving Beyond MHS
President Gurt is dedicated to helping children have a brighter future. His commitment extends beyond the MHS campus. He serves on the Commission for Accreditation for Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. This group governs all independent schools in the state.
President Gurt has received community recognition and accolades in many areas:
- Administrator of the Year (2009) – Coalition of Residential Excellence (CORE)
- Alumni Achievement Award (2014) – Recognized for his dedication to educating lower-income children by The Pennsylvania State University (Harrisburg) School of Behavioral Sciences and Education
- Hershey Rotary Club – Recognized as a dedicated community servant at the Hershey Rotary Club
President Gurt received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Temple University. He continued his education at The Pennsylvania State University (Harrisburg). Here, he earned a master’s degree in education.
As an alumnus, President Gurt partnered with Temple. Together, they worked to establish a College and Career Transition program for MHS. The program allows advanced MHS seniors to take a full semester of college courses. They are taught by Temple faculty (Harrisburg) on the MHS campus.
President Gurt resides in Hershey with his wife and two sons.