Deltasigs Reminisce as Bill Schilling Sails Into Retirement

Sep 27, 2022 – Bill Schilling officially retires on September 30. Numerous Deltasigs reflect on his 27-year tenure as Executive Director.

If you’ve been around Bill Schilling for more than five minutes, chances are you’ve heard him discuss his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers, a favorite brewery or recent travel adventure. Or perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of one of his classic dad jokes or his reminder that water truly is “good”.

What’s also good? The impressive level of commitment, hard work, dedication and devotion Bill’s given to Delta Sigma Pi. He recently ended an impressive term of over 25 years as the Fraternity’s Executive Director and is now serving as Executive Vice President of the Leadership Foundation. Come this fall, you’ll find Bill catching up with brothers at his favorite “watering hole” or catching fish out of a real one (two of his favorite past times!) as he officially retires from staff

As Bill loves telling stories, it only felt fitting to honor him in the same way. We invite you to sit back and relax, naturally with a tall glass of water in hand, as we celebrate our favorite former Cornhusker mascot Bill Schilling!

Grand President Cory Stopka (former Educational & Leadership Consultant)

He made me pick up sticks in the yard at the Central Office and sweep the walkways. And some of the wisest words he ever told me, while walking into a staff meeting, were “you cannot live on caramel macchiato alone!” 

Greg Howell, Pacific (CA) (former Western PVP and former Leadership Foundation Chair)

I’ve worked with Bill his entire fraternal career as I was on the first Fraternity Executive Board elected after Bill was hired. One of my fondest memories is socializing with Bill after Dominic Tarantino’s Career Achievement Award banquet (San Francisco, 1996). We enjoyed “refreshments” and San Francisco chocolate.

One of the proudest accomplishments of my Deltasig career is the work we did in the early years of the Foundation when I served as chairman. Much of the groundwork that I worked on with Bill is still in place today – and the Fraternity is better for it.

During the holidays, I always look forward to Bill’s holiday newsletter. Most of all, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Bill as a friend over the years and sharing travel stories (including chocolate and guinea pigs from Ecuador). Bill is a genuine brother who I’m also honored to call friend.

Missy Campbell, St. Thomas (MN) (2000 National Collegian of the Year)

I’ve never known Delta Sigma Pi without Bill Schilling. His employment began about five months before I began pledging. In the 27 years since, Bill has gone from a name I had to memorize for a pledge test to a life-long friend. He’s been my temporary employer (when I assisted with registration at Grand Chapter Congresses), attended my wedding to Jason Campbell, Penn State-Erie, always makes time to meet us for a drink when in Minnesota for business (or an annual fishing trip!) and even had lunch with us when our families randomly crossed paths in Michigan during a summer vacation. 

Every interaction with Bill is guaranteed to include interesting facts about a topic I previously knew little about or a perspective I hadn’t considered before, along with a sense of humor that leaves my cheeks hurting from laughter.

Jeff Winther, Grand Valley State (MI) (former Educational & Leadership Consultant)

Water better! There's never a dull moment with Bill, whether it's a six-hour drive to St. Louis or a six-minute text conversation. Every second you get with Bill is special and cherished. He doesn't have a bad bone in his giant 12-foot frame...only funny bones. Talk about humerus! My favorite memories will always be those spent at breweries and blueberry farms in West Michigan during a Schilling family vacation. If my math is correct, we only have 284 more Michigan breweries to visit! We are so grateful to Bill for all his years of service and we wish him nothing but the best in retirement. Cheers! And blueberries! And bumbleberry pie!

Judith Briggs, South Dakota (former Educational & Leadership Consultant, former Director of Administrative Services and former Northern PVP)

Bill and his family moved to Oxford right before a holiday. I didn't want them to be on their own in a new place, so fellow Educational and Leadership Consultant Catrina Conway and I invited their family, and other staff, to our apartment for dinner. As Bill and I both come from small town farming backgrounds, I think that shared connection also made it easier for me to be away from family during a holiday. The Schillings were gracious guests and we still recall that early dinner together. I think that’s how Bill has spent most of his time with Deltasig…finding connections (even where they didn't already exist), giving chances and guidance to brothers and always accepting invitations to gather around a table. Thanks, Bill, for accepting the Delta Sigma Pi invitation and providing opportunities to so many of us. 

National Organizational Development Committee Chair Crystal Justice (former Western PVP)

As I’ve gotten to work with and know Bill over the past 20 years, I forever appreciate his ability to lighten the mood and bring laughter and joy with a good dad joke. As we’ve worked through many tough situations over the years (most notably the pandemic!), this has proven to bring much needed laughter to every situation!

Mark Roberts, San Francisco (former Chapter Consultant, former VP for Alumni Benefits and Services and former Leadership Foundation Chair)

I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Bill at the very beginning of his tenure. In early 1995, I was the chair of the Leadership Foundation Board of Trustees. Then Grand President Randy Hultz asked me to join him in Oxford as a member of the committee interviewing potential executive director candidates. We met with several well-qualified candidates, but one stood out from the moment I met him. He had a disarming, "awe shucks" attitude and a real interest in learning all he could about the Fraternity and Central Office. His experience working for another national fraternity enabled him to provide answers and ask questions that zeroed in on the skills and abilities we were seeking. And after the interview, he asked if we wanted to get a drink! That overall experience assured me that Bill was just the right person for the job—and 27 years later, I know we made the right decision.

PGP Kathy Jahnke

My second meeting with Bill was the 1995 Officer Training School in New Orleans. We, of course, were on Bourbon Street and stumbled upon a bar. Although the place was questionable, it was one of the most important meetings I ever had with Bill. I told him one day I wanted to run for Grand President. I talked about some of my fears and he said there are plenty of people (brothers) out there who want the limelight, but not the responsibility. From that point on, I focused on areas I was weak in and sought out people that had the talent I was looking for. From there I grew a network of people where together we were able to get things done. I value that conversation still today. It changed my Fraternity career.

Brandon Trease, Wayne State (NE) (2001 National Collegian of the Year, former Regional Vice President and former Leadership Foundation Chair)

I have so many great stories and memories with Bill since I first met him in 2001. We’ve traveled together, or met up with each other, to enjoy several Nebraska football games and our beloved Cornhuskers. One of my favorite trips with Bill was when he drove to Bloomington to spend the night with us and then we drove together to Lincoln to attend the Nebraska vs. Ohio State game. The game was great (a huge Cornhusker comeback!), but the trip itself was even better. One of the highlights was meeting up with 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Nic Windeshausen, Nebraska-Lincoln. We met Nic at Bill’s sister’s house in Bancroft, Neb. where Bill grew up, and not far from where both Nic and I grew up. She cooked a huge breakfast and we talked about Nebraska, the Fraternity and other great memories. 

Bill has done so much for Delta Sigma Pi and will be missed when he retires, but I know he’ll continue to support the Fraternity. I look forward to many more years of “hopefully” successful Husker football trips in our future.

Katie Magoon, Eastern Illinois (former National Alumni and Professional Development Chair and former Leadership Foundation Chair)

My favorite Bill memories include him sitting quietly at a Board meeting listening to yet another lengthy discussion on a topic that was going the wrong direction. Someone would ask his opinion and he would slowly and gently raise his head and answer, “well, you could do that…or not!” You always knew that “or not” was the right answer and the conversation always came to a quick end. I often hear this comment in my head (in Bill’s voice) when serving on a committee and we start discussing some crazy new idea!

Bill has made a lasting impact on this organization through his ongoing service and focus on its strategic vision. His passion for the organization, people and the legacy of Delta Sigma Pi is truly incredible. He’s retiring with a legacy that will leave a positive impact on generations to come and I’m proud to have served as a volunteer leader with him throughout my career!

Sandy Shoemaker, Missouri State (former Rocky Mountain Regional Director and former Leadership Foundation Trustee)

I was there the day we initiated Bill into the Fraternity–what an amazing day. He’s a kind, but stern-with-a-purpose kind of guy. I’ve enjoyed all the times we’ve spent together–the visits to Colorado, getting to know his son and daughter-in-law, and drinking wine/scotch/etc. at events all over the country. He’s a tall man, but such a big teddy bear. I’m so privileged to have been able to call Bill a friend and I’ve enjoyed serving with him on the Leadership Foundation Board of Trustees. I hope our friendship continues after his retirement. Bill, you’re an amazing brother and the world is better because you dwelt upon it!

Leadership Foundation Chair & PGP Randy Hultz

One of my favorite memories involves his whole family. In February of 1995, I traveled to Kansas City to the home of Bill and Sherry Schilling. As then Grand President, I had been authorized by the executive committee to offer Bill the executive director position. The Schillings warmly opened their home and the conversations went well. Bill’s contract negotiation skills were on full display (a confirmation of what has become legendary), and we eventually came to an agreement for him to start the first week in April. I ended up spending the night at their home and enjoyed getting to know Bill and Sherry, along with the antics/musings of their toddlers, Ben and Courtney. 

Joan Nason,Bowling Green State (OH) (former Regional Director and former Leadership Foundation Chair)

I was fortunate to be part of the Board that hired Bill. The Huskers joined the B1G during Bill’s years. We always bantered about the games and outcomes. “Even Bo Pellini couldn’t beat the Buckeyes!” I’m a small-town farm kid from Ohio so we would joke about farm things–some of those jokes you’ve likely heard. We always enjoy the stories and epic holiday letter. Bill, I wish you all the best and hope to see you on your many travels! Enjoy!

Wendy Delehaunty, Eastern Illinois (former Educational & Leadership Consultant and former National Organizational Development Chair)

I learned a big lesson from Bill in my first year as an educational and leadership consultant. When I saw something that needed to be improved, and brought it to his attention, his face lit up and said, “sounds great! Go do it!” That’s when I learned that if I have an idea, I better start thinking about how to make it happen.  

Clifford Reilly, Central Missouri (former Regional Vice President)

My first time meeting Bill was when he and Heather (Bailey) Ferguson, Tampa (FL), came to St. Louis for an interfraternal conference. The plan was for me to pick them up at the airport and take them to a sports bar to meet up with alumni chapter brothers. What I remember most was what Heather said about how to identify them at the airport, “Look for the tallest guy in the crowd and that will be us!” I kid you not, it was almost straight out of the movie Mr. Baseball where Tom Selleck signs with a Japanese baseball team. Tom Selleck’s character towered over everyone in the airport and, of course, Bill did the same.

Deltasig has made great leaps forward under Bill's leadership. He’s a fun, smart and personable individual and he always took the time, ever so brief, to stop and chat. Bill will be missed, but the torch must eventually be passed!

Bill Martin, Atlanta (former Leadership Foundation Executive Vice President and Former Executive Director of Phi Gamma Delta)

 I had the privilege of having Bill as a colleague for a little over two years when I worked for the Leadership Foundation. Occasionally, when I was leaving the office to go to lunch, I would ask Bill if I could bring something back for him. Invariably his answer was, “I’ll have whatever you’re having.” Who does that?!

I hope the brothers of Delta Sigma Pi appreciate how fortunate the Fraternity has been to have someone of Bill’s character, skills and temperament serving as executive director for over 25 years. The benefits of such continuity and quality are immeasurable.

Kelly Rabin, Drake (IA) (former VP-Finance, former Leadership Foundation Trustee and former Regional Vice President)

My first real memory of Bill, beyond needing to memorize his name as a pledge, was the 2003 very hot Grand Chapter Congress in Palm Springs where he kept saying, “Water good!” Fast forward to 2015 when I was elected to the Board of Directors as VP-Finance. Suddenly, Bill became my budget buddy. We had many discussions about the appropriate level of volunteer expense reimbursement, dues changes, uses of surplus and investments. I also helped work through some fairly detailed regulatory updates that were needed in his contract to ultimately do right by both Bill and the organization. Bill did an amazing job of managing our budget and events so the organization could thrive.

Janet Morgan, Atlanta (Bill’s long term Executive Assistant at the Central Office)

Oh, Bill! The memories I have of working by your side for over 20(!) years. Deciphering your handwriting (oh that handwriting!), watering your office plants (real AND fake!) and sharing laughs over newspaper clippings you’d share from your hometown newspaper. It certainly didn’t take much to amuse us! And finally watching our children (and now grandchildren!) grow. Retirement is wonderful. Enjoy!

Paul Carpinella, Bentley (MA) (former Northeastern PVP and former National Alumni and Professional Development Chair)

Something that’s stood out to me over the years was the support Bill gave members of the Boston Alumni Chapter after Nick Steinkrauss, Suffolk (MA), passed away. Not only did he come out to Boston to honor Nick and attend his service, he was also very caring toward the chapter members and Nick’s family. Bill not only comforted us, but encouraged us to share stories of Nick and helped his family understand the impact the Fraternity had in his life.

Amy Briggs, Minnesota State (former North Central PVP)

When I returned home from my deployment in 2004, I wanted a Grand Chapter Congress ladder rung for the event I missed in 2003. The plan was to get a blank bar and have it engraved with “Iraq 2003.” I called the Central Office who advised me to call our jeweler–they were unfortunately unable to sell me a single blank bar. At a fall LEAD event, I asked Bill if he could contact the company to authorize the release of a blank bar for purchase. I told him I knew he was busy and this should be low priority, but that I would certainly appreciate his assistance. In December, I received a small box in the mail with my own 2003 rung and a note from Bill thanking me for my service and offering me a small token of appreciation.  

PGP Onuka Ibe

While I first met Bill when I was appointed Chancellor for the 2003 Grand Chapter Congress, I started to really get to know him after I was elected Grand President in 2013. That fall, we met in Baltimore, along with several other association board chairs and executives, and started to figure out how we’d most effectively work together.

Those couple of days in Maryland changed my life. Over the next eight years, I got to know more and more about Bill the Executive Director, Bill the nonprofit and association expert, and most impactful, Bill the friend and mentor. Bill was central to my biggest accomplishments and was a steadying force through my most challenging moments. It’s rare that a day goes by that I don’t draw on some gift from my time with Bill: principled prioritization and stewardship of resources, a farm-inspired anecdote to put a situation in perspective, or an acknowledgment of the worth of every human being, especially those with whom I disagree.

Thank you, Bill, for being a professional, a friend, a brother… a Deltasig. And thanks for the hours of great conversation over an Italian dinner in Baltimore. We’ll have to meet there again someday.

PGP Mark Chiacchiari

When I was Grand President, we held the ribbon cutting signifying the completion of the Central Office remodel with the entire national leadership team present. The ceremony was right before dinner and pushing up against my 8-month-old daughter Aurelia's bedtime. Bill, Past Grand President Mitch Simmons and I were on the front steps while Michelle was changing Aurelia on the picnic table nearby. Everybody had their backs to them. When the professional ceremony concluded, Bill looked at me and said, "I don't know if you realized this, but your daughter wasn't wearing any clothes for most of the ceremony." Bill always had a penchant for one-liners. But, it also goes to show how all of us found our families intertwined with Deltasig. I had the privilege of watching Bill and Sherry's kids grow up, just as Bill got to see mine. 


Bill's Parting Thoughts

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” 


This gem from Thucydides (like me, an ancient Greek who enjoys history!) pretty well sums up the life of any long-serving fraternity executive. So did the very kind, humorous and humbling remembrances of the brothers sharing here, whose lives entwined with mine these many years.

Working for a national fraternity is much more a way of life than a job. One best enjoy the company of those he works with, since those he works with are everywhere, always! And even more so now with Zoom, Facebook, email, texting, etc.  Lucky for me, I have certainly enjoyed the opportunity to meet, work with, laugh with—and achieve and fail with—many, many great people. Together, we have collectively built a stronger, larger organization that still works hard to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s college students.

During this retirement countdown period, I am often asked to relate ‘best stories’ or funniest, most challenging, proudest moment, etc. I find it difficult to isolate such things, as likely did the good brothers providing comments here.  The best of this near three decade journey is comprised of the million conversations with thousands of brothers at hundreds of campus buildings, cafes, coffee shops, hotels, airports—and yes, even bars and ballparks!   The best warm fuzzies come when someone out of the blue says, “I remember when you told me……and it really helped me,” and I have no recollection of it whatsoever. 

Regarding Brother Stopka’s chuckling reminisces here: I ASKED him, and ALL staff, including myself, to help with these chores! It is simply what we do to present the Fraternity in the best light we can. Always. I am confident that I picked up more “sticks” …literally and figuratively… than anyone else!  And I thank Delta Sigma Pi and my many brothers and friends for giving me the opportunity! 

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