Published: June 30, 2023

Co-President, CESR Fellows 

Renner walks the hallway of the Koelbel Building in a dark suit.Renner Skidmore balances life as a college student while being a professional skier—and that might not even be the most interesting thing about him. 

Consider that last year, he elected to spend his summer traveling solo in South America because he didn’t feel like the Spanish classes he took in high school actually taught him the language. As you read this, he’s summering in Japan—part mountain climbing, part study abroad program, part global internship—before heading to Argentina to record himself skiing.

“Being on my own for the summer was incredible—I had nothing holding me back from just being completely curious,” he said. He even tried to teach English for a month in Bolivia, “but I think I learned more Spanish than they did English,” he said.

A studious skier

Talking to Renner, you might see a carefree world traveler and skier. But he’s actually intensely driven, choosing to study at Leeds for the access to skiing as much as for the academic rigor of the business program. Alongside his focus on information management and business analytics, he’s pursuing a certificate in social responsibility and ethics, a computer science integration and a philosophy minor. 

“The more I learn, the less I know,” he said with a laugh. “What I’m trying to get out of school is a broad set of skills, especially with respect to data and computers, so I can make the case for businesses as they transition to more sustainable models and practices.”

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“I believe the business community will be a key tool in driving change toward a sustainable future.”

Renner Skidmore (InfoMgmt, BA’25)

Renner stands with his arms crossed in front of the Rustandy Building.At Leeds, Renner is both co-president of CESR Fellows—the student club of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility—as well as a member of the center’s advisory board, where he’s had opportunities to meet professionals working in sustainability and ensure the younger generation’s voice is heard in those high-level conversations. 

“I believe the business community will be a key tool in driving change toward a sustainable future—especially at a time when our government is so polarized,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to study business.” 

Skiing meets sustainability

That drive for sustainability comes from his love of the slopes, where some of his favorite runs—especially Beartooth Basin, in northern Montana—have been unable to open on schedule due to changing weather in the mountains. Renner’s first time on skis came as an 18-month-old in Utah, but it truly became a passion in Montana where, as a 5-year-old, he went from the most beginner to most advanced groups within a week.  

However, he admits to some frustration as his passion becomes a project. Representing Nordica and Sweet Protection, he said, “means I can fund my skiing with my skiing. However, it’s hard to dedicate so much time on my skis to creating media, instead of just skiing.” 

Wherever his skis may take him, Renner said turning pro has made him a better business student. 

“I took a gap year, when I kicked off being a sponsored athlete—and promoting myself, doing outreach, sending emails, all helped me gain a lot of skills for self promotion, creating a social media presence and marketing, which is helpful in a lot of my classes,” he said.

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