Milton Hershey School Dedicates Family Center in Honor of Gertrude Gurt
Last winter, the Milton Hershey School Family Relations team opened a Family Engagement Center to provide a place on campus for parents/sponsors to call home. Since February 2021, this building has become a meeting spot for families to reunite with their children and learn and grow as parents/sponsors.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, MHS held a ceremony to unveil the name of this special building: Gertrude Gurt Family Center—named in honor of a former parent/sponsor, Gertrude Gurt. Gertrude Gurt was the mother of President Pete Gurt ’85, and his eight siblings—three of whom attended MHS. Gertrude Gurt also served as an MHS ambassador, connecting with other parents/sponsors to help them along their MHS journey.
The ceremony began with remarks from President Gurt, honoring his mother’s legacy and the foundation that was created in in her name. The Family Gratitude Foundation in Honor of Gertrude Gurt was established by a group of MHS employees who wanted to honor Gertrude Gurt’s great love and dedication to the school.
“This honor is being accepted on behalf of every parent/sponsor who enrolls their children at MHS and finds ways to help others—like my mother did,” Gurt said. “Over the 15-year period that my family attended MHS, my mother drove more than 12,000 miles to come and see us.”
Carol Martin, a former parent/sponsor and dear friend of Gertrude Gurt, used to welcome the Gurt family and many others over to her home nearby in Hershey as a place to visit with their children. She adds, “As the original ‘family center,’ I welcome the idea of there being a place on campus for families to come and engage in meaningful visitation.”
New Horizons and the Spartan String Ensemble performed special tributes to the Gurt family in honor of Gertrude Gurt’s support of the Visual and Performing Arts program. New Horizons also performed an MHS rendition of the “Candy Man.” Other speakers included Ododo Walsh ’98, MHS Senior Director of Home Life and Student Leadership, and Peggy McWhite, a current parent/sponsor, who talked about how families are already utilizing the space. The ceremony concluded with the official unveiling of the Gertrude Gurt Family Center sign that now hangs on the porch of former student home Highland.