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Milton Hershey School Community Rededicates Founders Hall

On Sept. 13, 1970, Milton Hershey School dedicated the iconic Founders Hall to the legacy of the school’s founders—Milton and Catherine Hershey. Fifty-two years later, on Sept. 28, 2022, MHS students, staff, alumni, and community members, gathered to rededicate the building after five years of renovations.

The ceremony included video tributes, student speakers, and inspirational messages from MHS President Pete Gurt ’85, MHS Board of Managers Chairman Diane Koken, and Vice Chair Maria Kraus ’89. Students also led the audience in the School Pledge and Alma Mater; and, a rededication plaque was unveiled.

In his remarks, President Gurt shared his own experience entering Founders Hall for the first time—one that resonated with every student, graduate, and staff member in the audience.

“Fifty years ago this week, on Sept. 25, 1972, I walked into this building for the first time as a 5-year-old boy on my Enrollment Day. I didn’t have the words to express it then, but I can describe the feelings that I had as if it were yesterday. I knew on that day, that I was going to be part of something big,” shared Gurt.

This historic moment in school history is the first time that the MHS community was invited into Founders Hall Auditorium since 2017. The Auditorium is completely renovated and includes state-of-the-art lighting and technology, brand new seating, and a completely new look.

The renovation of the building weaves together historic artifacts and moments in time with modern upgrades and features—among these are: an interactive Visitors Center, newly designed meeting areas and office spaces, and a redesigned dining hall for students.

“Founders Hall is more than a building and more than just a place to be together, but it is a beacon of change, foresight, and impact—traits that our founders knew well,” shared Koken.

The school continues to carry on the legacy of Milton and Catherine Hershey through its 2025 strategic plan and the creation of Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning—an Early Childhood Education initiative to serve more children from birth to age 5.

“It was nearly 41 years ago when I enrolled at MHS on Dec. 3, 1981, as a fifth grader,” said Kraus. “What I remember most is being surrounded by remarkable people—caring houseparents, smart and passionate teachers, and peers with dreams as big as our campus. There is nowhere in the world like Milton Hershey School. There is no building like Founders Hall. And there is no family like ours.”

We are excited to welcome the public back to Founders Hall in 2023 to share in celebrating the legacy of Milton and Catherine Hershey.

Behind-the-Scenes Virtual Tour of Founders Hall—Milton Hershey School

Video Poster

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