Milton Hershey

Milton Hershey

Class of 1972

Milton Hershey was born on September 13, 1857, in Derry Church, PA. He attended school only through the fourth grade before his father put him to work as a printer’s apprentice.

In 1876, Milton opened his first candy shop, in Philadelphia. After the business failed six years later he tried his hand at candy-making in Denver, New Orleans and New York, finally returning to Lancaster, PA, in 1886. He soon began the business that first established his reputation as a candy-maker – the Lancaster Caramel Co.

In early 1894, the Hershey Chocolate Company was born as a subsidiary of Lancaster Caramel. In 1903, with money from his caramel business, Milton began to build what is now the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant.

In 1909, together with his wife, Catherine, he established the most prominent of his philanthropic endeavors, the Hershey Industrial School. Now called the Milton Hershey School, the 10,000-acre school houses and provides education for nearly 1,100 children whose family lives have been disrupted.

The chocolate business continued to thrive, as did the community he established around it. During the depression, Milton provided jobs by building a grand hotel, a community building, a sports arena, and a new office building for the chocolate factory.

Throughout his life, Milton was committed to the highest standards of quality, honesty, fairness and integrity. His imagination and drive, his ceaseless labor and his care and concern for others were an inspiration to all who worked with him.

Milton Hershey was the rarest of men – both a dreamer and a builder. He had the genius to develop his chocolate business in the right place at the right time. His personal convictions about the obligations of wealth and the quality of life in the town he founded have made the company, community and school a living legacy.