25th anniversary Spring Gala to honor Herbert “Herbie” Schilling


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association will honor Herbert “Herbie” Schilling at its 2022 Spring Gala.

The annual gala is in its 25th year. This year’s event will 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. Proceeds are dedicated to maintaining and improving Alumni Association facilities.

“For 25 years, the Alumni Association’s Spring Gala has recognized leaders whose dedication to the betterment of the community is underscored by achievement and philanthropy,” said John Claude Arceneaux, the UL Lafayette Alumni Association’s interim executive director. “Herbie Schilling’s accomplishments and longstanding support of the community and the University embodies these traits and characteristics.” 

Schilling, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University in 1972, was a four-year letterman for the golf team and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. Following active duty, he returned to work at his family’s business, Schilling Distributing Co. During his career, which began during high school, Schilling has been the company’s sales manager, general manager, vice president and president.

Under his guidance, Schilling Distributing earned Anheuser-Busch’s inaugural Ambassador of Excellence Award in 1981. Only six of 1,470 distributorships nationwide earned the honor. In 1983, Schilling was selected for Anheuser-Busch’s Wholesale Advisory Panel. Two years later, he was elected its chairman. Schilling remains the youngest person ever to serve in that role.

In addition to Anheuser-Busch beers, he has expanded Schilling Distributing’s products to more than 200 brands of beer, non-alcoholic products, water, and wine and spirits.

Schilling has purchased two radio stations, launched Argus Security, and was a founding partner of Dolphin Compactors. He is part owner of Louisiana Rice Mill, Fairway Logistics, Acadiana Waste Services and iTA Truck Sales and Service.

In 1980, he resurrected the Louisiana Open golf tournament. In 1985, Schilling formed Louisiana Open, Inc., a non-profit corporation to manage the event. It has donated over $4 million to charities including the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, Hospice of Acadiana, the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, Hearts of Hope and Louisiana CASA.

Schilling also started the nonprofit Recycling Foundation, which provided curbside recycling to residents in the city of Lafayette. He was one of the founders of the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation. He is a founding member of One Acadiana and served on its CEO Advisory Board.

Schilling is married to Renée Vidrine Schilling from Golden Meadow, La. The couple has a blended family of eight children and 21 grandchildren.

Chris Richard, president-elect of the UL Lafayette Alumni Association, is chair of this year’s Spring Gala. Mary Galyean, past president, is auction chair. 

To purchase tickets, become a patron or sponsor, or donate auction items to the UL Lafayette Alumni Association 2022 Spring Gala, call (337) 482-0900.

The association held its first Spring Gala in 1997. The event’s first honoree was businessman Herbert Heymann. View a complete list of past honorees here. Learn more about Schilling here.

Photo caption: Herbert “Herbie” Schilling will be honored during the UL Lafayette Alumni Association’s 25th annual Spring Gala. Submitted photo