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Founders Hall Auditorium: A Chapel, Performing Space, and So Much More

By Pastor William Ogle, MHS Director of Religious Programs

I can remember the first time I walked into the Founders Hall Auditorium. In the fall of 2011, my wife and I started working as houseparents in Senior Division. When I attended Chapel with our students for the first time, I was struck by the Auditorium’s architecture; I remember walking down the brick aisle and marveling at the stage.

As a theater major in college, I had seen my fair share of performance spaces. I had never encountered a space like the Founders Hall Auditorium. And while the aesthetics captivated me, the gathering of the community is what truly captured my heart.

With a background in ministry prior to MHS, I couldn’t help but think what a privilege it would be to someday preside over our school’s Chapel Services. To stand in that beautiful space and remind our students and staff of the faith our founders possessed—a faith that fueled their unparalleled generosity—and of the simple fact that we are not alone.

When the MHS community gathers for Chapel, it reminds us that we are a part of something bigger; something that has endured for decades before us; something with an influence that reaches around the world, and a story that we now get to enter.

No matter what we are going through, no matter what kind of week we have experienced, Chapel always comes on Sunday. During this time, we come together to be reminded that we are blessed with so much and are surrounded by a community that loves us.

During the Founders Hall renovation, our community gatherings were at times divided and at other times forced to become a virtual gathering.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, students and staff gathered for the first Chapel Service in nearly five years in Founders Hall Auditorium. As Founders Hall reopens, and students and staff come together as a large group again, there is significant cause for reflection and celebration.

We have made it through a time of challenge and a time of rebuilding. We are coming together once again as an MHS family to celebrate and unite our voices in prayers, songs, and readings that remind us of our united community.

The only thing that could surpass the splendor of the newly renovated Auditorium—and it is exquisite—is seeing it filled with the beautiful faces of MHS students and staff.

I still cannot believe that I have been blessed with a front row seat to see that happen; that I get to work in my favorite room on campus, with my favorite community on the planet.

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.