The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award is named in honor of long-tenured former Manhattan Chamber president Lud Fiser, who served from 1948 to 1975 and was responsible for such community developments as CiCo Park and Manhattan Industrial Park.
Mary is the 54th recipient of the Lud Fiser Citizen of the Year award.
Mary graduated from Kansas State in 1989 with a BS in hotel and restaurant management. After working in the hospitality industry for ten years, she returned to Manhattan, Kansas in 2000, to lead Grand Mere Development, Inc. the residential and commercial real estate development which surrounds KSU’s Colbert Hills golf course.
Among her many volunteer efforts, Mary Vanier currently serves as the chair of the Kansas State University Foundation Board of Directors. She has served on the board since 2012 and has been a trustee since 2004. Mary is a founder of Manhattan Community Foundation, past chair of the Homecare and Hospice Foundation in Manhattan, and has served on many local, state, and national philanthropic boards. She recently also partnered with community leaders and organizations including the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce in the creation of Spark, a nonprofit organization with a vision to connect, resource, and successfully launch entrepreneurs and promote a dynamic and inclusive culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Greater Manhattan region.
In 2019, Mary was named Philanthropist of the year by the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation and in 2018, received the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Leadership Manhattan Distinguished Service Award.