The exclusive, invitation-only Renaissance Weekend retreat was born on Hilton Head

Generations of shared ideas

In 1981 local residents Phil Lader and Linda LeSourd, along with their friends, expressed their frustration about the lack of opportunities to learn from their fascinating acquaintances in a personal and substantive way. To address this, they opened their four-day New Year’s “house party” on Hilton Head Island to 60 families, which eventually became known as Renaissance Weekend.

Over the past four decades, the spirit of Renaissance Weekend has remained true to its roots, serving as an “extended family reunion” that brings together innovative leaders from diverse fields for a cross-generational and continuing conversation. The attendees are authorities in their respective fields, with many having remarkable achievements and contributions still ahead of them.

The event features hundreds of programs and activities, all designed to celebrate ideas and relationships without any political or commercial agendas. As a result, the friendships formed at Renaissance Weekend, often among the most unlikely individuals, have resulted in historic projects, ventures, public service and even several dozen marriages.

Some attendees of Renaissance Weekend during its years on Hilton Head included:

  • Peter Arnett, journalist and TV news anchor (1993) 
  • Harry Blackmun, U.S. Supreme Court justice (1993) 
  • Wolf Blitzer, journalist and TV news anchor (1993) 
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer and songwriter (1993, 1995) 
  • Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President (1992, 1993, 1995, 1997) 
  • Hillary Clinton, former first lady and U.S. Senator (1992, 1993, 1995, 1997) 
  • Howard Fineman, journalist and columnist (1993) 
  • Ernest Hollings, U.S. Senator (1993) 
  • Joe Klein, journalist and columnist (1993) 
  • Andrea Mitchell, TV news anchor (1993) 
  • Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator (1993) 
  • Charles Robb, U.S. Senator (1993) 
  • Edwin Yoder, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (1993) 
  • Elmo Zumwalt, former admiral of the US Navy (1993) 

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