Milton Hershey School Celebrates Mr. Hershey’s 166th Birthday
By Pete Gurt ’85, MHS President
At Milton Hershey School, birthdays are special and have always been reasons to celebrate. In fact, since the early days of the school, all students have received birthday cakes and cards. This tradition expanded to include alumni, who also each receive a birthday card from their alma mater.
But the birthday of our founder—Milton S. Hershey—is always a sweet reason to celebrate. On Sept. 13, 2023, Mr. Hershey would have turned 166 years old.
On this day of celebration, people around the globe honor Mr. Hershey for his accomplishments. In Hershey, Pennsylvania and at MHS, we honor him for his character. Over the course of his lifetime—and long after his passing in 1945—his courage, integrity, resilience, and servant’s heart created a legacy worth remembering.
Among other moments, Mr. Hershey failed and succeeded in business, built a community for his employees, and opened a school for children in search of greater opportunity. What he created has thrived ever since, because above all else, he believed in empowering long-lasting positive change.
That is what we are in the business of at MHS—creating long-lasting positive change in the lives of our students and their families. This mission is thanks to our founder and his incredible vision.
Our school year theme—Breakthrough—puts this into perspective. Mr. Hershey experienced many Breakthrough moments in his business and philanthropy and we can achieve our Breakthrough this year because of his vision and generosity.
Next month, we will expand Mr. Hershey’s—and Mrs. Hershey’s—legacy, by opening our very first Early Childhood Center as a part of our Early Childhood Education initiative—Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning.
The Hersheys’ legacy is only growing—because our success as a school was built on a firm foundation, thanks to one man and his innovative ideas.
Someone once told me that a birthday is not about becoming a year older, but a year better. In other words, a birthday marks an opportunity to reflect on the person you’ve become over the last year and who you’ll be in the next 365 days.
How will you choose to live like Mr. Hershey did this year?