From One Milton Hershey School Graduate to Another: Thank You
By Pete Gurt ’85, MHS President
On Aug. 19, 1985, Kimberly (Bishop) Elenberg enrolled at the best home and school on earth in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and on Nov. 18, 2022, Kim achieved a major milestone—her retirement from a distinguished 27 year military career. She has said that Milton Hershey School saved her life and set her up for the success she was able to accomplish in her life so far.
Attending MHS is truly an opportunity to seek greater challenges and a new vision for the future. MHS students have experienced the harsh reality of poverty before arriving on our campus, and in Kim’s case, her father left the family, and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first, Kim struggled to learn and had very little self-confidence, however, those are not the traits she displayed on her graduation day on June 6, 1988.
She credits the incredibly high expectations of our culture and the caring staff for her transformation. She took every opportunity presented to her and is an example of leadership, determination, and resilience to her fellow alumni, our 2,000 students today, as well as staff and retirees.
While our mutual connection with MHS has made us friends, our deep reverence for the school’s pledge and Sacred Values—integrity, commitment to mission, mutual respect, and positive spirit—made us family.
Despite her extraordinarily busy schedule, she returns to her roots often. She has spent countless hours on our campus supporting programs, mentoring students and graduates, and promoting military service. Earlier this month, on Veterans Day, she explained more about careers in the military to our high school students.
For me, Kim’s most impactful message was when she shared the Fallen Soldier Table story during our annual Memorial Day Assembly in May 2015, my first year as president of MHS. Our entire student body was filled with emotion because she made it real for them to understand the importance of the day.
When I asked our staff, students, and her classmates to describe Kim, they used words such as servant, compassionate, mission-minded, honorable, and so many others. I know these words to be true of Kim’s character.
Milton S. Hershey once said: “If a man does not like the work he does, he is not a success. If he loves his work, he does good work and lots of it.” It is clear that Kim has loved her work. She certainly has done good work, and lots of it.
She is a true Milt, and represents the values of our founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey, in everything that she does. She has benefitted from the Hersheys’ generosity, lived by their values, and carved a new path for those who will come after her.
Our entire Milton Hershey School family congratulates Kim on her retirement and looks forward to supporting her in the next chapter of her career as Principal Scientist at Carnegie Mellon University.
Thank you, Kim, for your service to our country and thank you for your service to the place you call home.
Kimberly (Bishop) Elenberg graduated from Milton Hershey School in 1988 and went on to serve our country in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.