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The Unique Philanthropist

The Humble Gift that Changed Lives

In 1918, chocolatier Milton S. Hershey gave his fortune to the home and school he and his wife built nearly a decade prior in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Ever humble, he didn’t publicize this gift. It wasn’t until the news of Mr. Hershey’s unique act of service splashed across the front page of The New York Times five years later in 1923 that the world found out. Today, 100 years later, Milton Hershey’s gift continues to change the lives of children and their families from across the country.

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Milton and Catherine Hershey signed the Deed of Trust, founding the Hershey Industrial School. It began as a dream to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds get ahead in life through an exceptional education experience.

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The school admits its first four boys. Today, MHS cares for more than 2,000 students from across the country. The student body contains an equal number of boys and girls.

The first boys to enroll at Milton Hershey School


Mr. Hershey places his stock holdings of 500,000 shares of the Hershey Chocolate Company, valued at $60 million, in a trust to benefit the school.


News of Mr. Hershey’s generous gift broke in the Harrisburg Evening News on Nov. 8, 1923, and The New York Times published the next day. The Times followed up with a full-page spread on Nov. 18.


Today—100 years after the world found out about the sweet gift that changes lives—MHS is thriving as one of the world’s best private schools.

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Fast Facts

MHS is a top-tier private school for qualifying students in pre-K through 12th grade. Rooted in rich history, we continue to offer life-changing opportunities for children and their families through an exceptional education and home life program.

Location and Campus

MHS is located in beautiful Hershey, Pennsylvania. It is 25 minutes from Harrisburg and 90 minutes from Baltimore. It is just under two hours from Philadelphia.

At more than 7,000 acres, the MHS campus is one of the largest in the United States. The MHS campus is one of the most well-resourced, technologically advanced, and well-maintained educational institutions in the nation.

Our facilities includes:

  • 203 buildings
  • Six swimming pools
  • Animal barns
  • A 7,000-seat stadium
  • 2,315 student computers
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Where Our Students Are From

We enroll students from across the United States.

  • ~2,000 students, pre-K through 12th grade.
  • There is an equal number of boys and girls.
  • On average, our student demographic breakout is:
    • 22% – Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties
    • 48% – Other PA Counties
    • 30% – States other than PA
View a Day in the Life

Home Life Program

All students are cared for in a loving, family-like environment. Education in the Judeo-Christian faith, the heritage of the school’s founders, is part of the MHS program and includes daily devotions and Sunday Chapel services.

  • 180+ student homes, each with eight to 12 students, led by 450+ houseparents.
  • Seniors live together in 10 Transitional Living apartment-style buildings to prepare them for independent living after graduation. Professional TL staff provide oversight.
Experience a Student Home

All Costs Covered

  • Tuition and housing (with 24/7 security)
  • Healthy meals and snacks
  • Medical and dental care (including glasses and medications)
  • School and casual clothing
  • School supplies and computers
  • Counseling services
  • Tutoring and personal academic assistance
  • All field trips, activities, and equipment (sports and instruments)
Discover Our Admissions Process
The exterior of the first Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning Early Childhood Education Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Inspired by Milton Hershey's Gift

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning will allow MHS to expand the impact of Milton and Catherine Hershey’s vision to serve more children from economically disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds through education. CHS provides a cost-free educational, social, and cognitive day program to children of low-income from six weeks to age 5.

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Interested in learning more about MHS? Find out about what’s happening on campus through the school’s weekly community e-newsletter.

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Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.