Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning and Hershey Gardens Announce The Catherine Hershey Rose

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning announced the naming of the “Catherine Hershey Rose” in honor of Milton Hershey’s beloved wife, Catherine “Kitty” Hershey.  The rose is one of 115 varieties at Hershey Gardens.

“This rose is a special and lasting legacy honoring Milton Hershey School co-founder, Catherine Hershey, whose name and passion for children also inspired Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning,” said MHS and CHS President Pete Gurt, whose wife, Jane, suggested naming a rose after Mrs. Hershey.   

CHS and Hershey Gardens worked with two Canadian rose growers to choose the double-bloom shrub rose. Long blooming and pest resistant, it is a pale peach color and emits a spicy citrus scent.

“We are fortunate to have these growers combine their expertise to help us pay homage to Catherine Hershey, recognizing her important role in changing the lives of thousands of children,” said Jane Gurt.

Fitting for an individual who had a penchant for horticulture, the Catherine Hershey Rose pays tribute to an influential woman in Hershey history whose compassion for children led to the creation of the Hershey Industrial School in 1909, which is now known as Milton Hershey School. With regard to establishing the school, Milton Hershey was often quoted as saying, “It was Kitty’s idea.”  

The Catherine Hershey Rose will be planted at all CHS locations, on the MHS campus, and is featured alongside the M.S. Hershey Rose in the M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden at Hershey Gardens. The American Rose Society honored Milton Hershey and his support of roses by naming a rose after him in 1940. The rose is also located in the Historic Hershey Rose Garden at Hershey Gardens.

“Mr. Hershey created a rose garden in 1937 for his community to enjoy,” said Amy Zeigler, senior director of Hershey Gardens. “And now, for the first time, it features a rose that’s named after his beloved wife. The Catherine Hershey Rose, with its peach-pink petals, looks beautiful next to the vibrant red M.S. Hershey Rose. Like the two individuals they represent, they’re a great complement to each other.”

MHS has honored Catherine Hershey with several initiatives, the most recent being Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, which through an initial investment of $350 million will open six Early Childhood Education Centers (ECECs) providing non-residential weekday care and education for children six weeks to age 5 from qualifying families, with all costs covered. The first ECEC is slated to open in fall 2023 in Hershey, Pa. followed by locations in Harrisburg, Middletown, Lancaster City, New Danville and Elizabethtown. Other initiatives honoring Catherine Hershey include “Hugs and Kisses from Catherine,” established by Jane Gurt. The program delivers support, mentorship and encouragement to female students in pre-K through grade 12 at Milton Hershey School in tribute to Catherine Hershey’s original mission to spread kindness and generosity.