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Milton Hershey School Beginnings

Robert Heist Attorney

· School

Attorney Robert Heist earned his JD from The University of Illinois-John Marshall Law School. He also holds an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Since 2001, he has served as the president and principal attorney of R. Connor & Associates, a business law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Robert Heist is also the Past-Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Milton Hershey School and Past-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hershey Trust Company where he was responsible for leading the new Early Childhood Education initiative at Milton Hershey School.

Milton Hershey was already a successful chocolate manufacturer in 1909 when he and his wife Catherine opened a school for orphaned boys. Unable to have children, they poured considerable attention and resources into the school, which they named the Hershey Industrial School. Their goal was to see that every boy had a stable life at the school, a challenging course of academic instruction, and training in vocational and agricultural fields. They deeded their nearly 500-acre farm to the school.

After his wife died in 1915, Mr. Hershey gave his entire fortune of $60 million in land and the chocolate company to the school - the equivalent of more than $1 billion today. Today, the Milton Hershey School serves more than 2,000 students in grades 1-12 who live in student homes of a dozen or so children under the supervision of resident married houseparents. More information is available at

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