A Letter to Our Community
We are greatly pained by the recent events across our nation. They prove more than ever that a divide exists throughout the country and must be addressed by real action, inclusiveness, and empathy. The murder of George Floyd is the latest example of ongoing systemic inequality and injustice. It is not acceptable and must end. We need to stand together—not as different races—but as one people committed to creating a better society.
Before making a statement, we wanted to gather as a community, with close to 200 of our leaders representing all departments and divisions. We want our response to be deep-rooted and lasting—not just words but action. That meeting took place this morning. Milton Hershey School leaders across campus met virtually to reflect on all that has occurred. In doing so, we made the conscious decision that we need to do more and we need to do better.
Now is the time for us to reflect, listen, learn and acknowledge that we still have work to do in making sustainable change. This means listening to our students and alumni about what they have personally experienced, learning from it, and taking action that supports them. We appreciate the work already being done within our School community to create these opportunities and intend to build on them.
At Milton Hershey School, we have an ongoing commitment to inclusiveness and celebrating the many cultures, races, and ethnicities that make our community the strong and diverse family it is. Our framework is grounded in our School’s Sacred Values—including mutual respect of all people. As an educational institution, we need to continue our work to uplift, nurture, and support young people so they can grow to become socially responsible leaders—men and women who have empathy, acceptance, and love for others.
It’s also not lost on us that these tragic events have taken place during a pandemic—one that has strained our country physically, economically, and emotionally. The students and families we serve at MHS are already dealing with challenges of poverty, and we understand how important it is to support and uplift them. Going forward, we will continue to do just that.
We also strive every day to keep our campus a safe space, where everyone is recognized, heard, and acknowledged. Our School leadership, expert staff, and alumni are always here for our students and we will help them process this national turmoil by actively listening, engaging, and providing needed resources to care for their physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Milton Hershey School is not perfect by any means, but we can strive and act to be better every day. We can embrace open dialogue and take action to improve our School community. The bridge to change will be built by humility and open-mindedness, and we are determined to join that effort. We owe it to the children we serve and their futures.
We can’t just talk the talk, we must walk the walk and be a School that is more understanding and effective than ever before.
We are committed to being part of the solution to racial and class inequality. We as a staff encourage our students—past and present—to be leaders who practice our Sacred Values, lead by example, and show compassion for all people, in all places, every day.
- Peter G. Gurt ’85, President
- Tanya Baynham, Vice President, Graduate Programs for Success Division
- Andrew C. Clark, Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel
- Jeffery M. Johnson, Vice President, Human Resources
- Dr. Freda Martine, Vice President, Education and Student Life
- Lisa Scullin, Vice President, Communications
- Elliott Robinson, Vice President, Finance and Administration