Herb Schilling joins Discover Lafayette to look back on the profound influence his education at UL-Lafayette (formerly USL) has played in his life.
In recognition of his generosity and dedication to the university, Herb is being honored at the UL-Lafayette Alumni Association’s 25th annual Spring Gala on March 26, 2022.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association will honor Herb Schilling at its Spring Gala 25th anniversary year event to be held from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, at the UL Lafayette Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd. It will feature entertainment and food, and live and silent auctions. Art, gifts, travel opportunities, and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns merchandise are among items that will be up for bid. Tickets may be purchased here.
Herb reminisced about his upbringing in Lafayette and his lifelong friendships with his classmates. “The university has been a part of my life from birth. My mother (Olga Schilling) was a professor of secretarial sciences at the university in 1949 when I was born and we resided one block from the university on Johnston St. My mother would walk to work every day. My first schooling was at Hamilton Lab School, a laboratory school on campus to train teachers. I received my first degree from the university in 1954….I’ll see who’s paying attention!”
Like his father, Herbert Schilling, who came to Lafayette in the late 1920s to play baseball and became co-owner of the Lafayette White Sox co-founder of the Evangeline League, Herb loved baseball and had an encouraging future in that realm. But when he was a young boy, Clyde Wolf encouraged him to be a golfer and discouraged him from trying to compete in two sports arenas. Herb took up golf and gave up his baseball aspirations. He became a four-year letterman on the USL golf team and graduated in 1972 with a degree in business management. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
“The university is an asset to this community in that it has helped us survive the ups and downs of the oil industry. Now, it is the backbone of our community, deservedly so. The success of this university means the success of this town, and the success of this town means the success of our business.”
Herb particularly credits two professors, Dr. Bernard Bienvenu and Dr. Rex Hausen, for serving as the foundation of his business success. Both Harvard-educated, they used the Harvard case-study method for teaching back in the 1960s and 1970s when Herb attended college. “USL was the only university using that method in the south,” Herb said.
Dr. Bernard Bienvenu (pictured at right) along with Dr. Rex Hausen, taught Herb Schilling business principles during his days at USL studying business management. “That education is why I’m here today. One thing Dr. Bienvenu always said was ‘Have balance in your life. Don’t have everything in one pocket, because if that pocket rips, all the marbles will fall out and you’ll lose everything.” As opportunities knocked throughout Herb’s life, he would pick good investments and most importantly, “good partners.”
Following his father’s death in 1981, Herb assumed leadership of Schilling Distributing which he has grown to heights never imagined, now distributing a vast array of beers as well as fine wines.
He has been an active entrepreneur, launching diverse endeavors such as Pelican Park in Carencro, as well as investing in Supreme Rice Mill, Fairway Logistics, Acadiana Waste Services, and International Trucks of Acadiana (with locations in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Slidell, Harahan, and Houma).
Pelican Park in Carencro LA was built by Herb Schilling and was the first artificial turf facility in the South insofar as softball is concerned and one of the finest facilities of its kind. Teams from all over the U. S. would fly in to compete. Herb said, “Weekend softball players love to drink beer!” The City of Carencro now owns the facility and it is still a popular destination for softball tournaments, walkers who enjoy the paths, and the Mercredi Shows put on by the City of Carencro each year.
The list of non-profit organizations Herb has been involved with is extensive. They include founding The Louisiana Open Inc., One Acadiana, Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation, and involvement with Blueprint Louisiana and Oakbourne Country Club. He founded the Recycling Foundation which provided curbside recycling at no cost for the city of Lafayette residents.
Herb Schilling’s college years at USL coincided with a heyday of sports excellence in the late 60s and early 70s. He spoke of the championship football team led by his longtime friend and Hamilton Lab School classmate, George Coussan, the outstanding basketball team led by Coach Beryl Shipley and assistant Coach Tom Cox, and the accomplished Judy Ford, who was crowned Miss America in 1968 as she showcased her talent on the trampoline.
We thank Herb Schilling for his dedication to UL-Lafayette as well as to our greater community. Congratulations on a life well-lived and for future success on your business endeavors!