The Flints Hills Discovery Center was packed full of people on Thursday celebrating and congratulating Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Karen Hibbard on her retirement.

The line of people waiting to speak with Hibbard stretched out the door until everyone gathered inside to hear a few words from those who worked with Hibbard through the years.

dozens gather at Discovery Center to honor Hibbard

Former Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce President Lyle Butler shared words of praise for Hibbard and the joy and humor she always brought with her.


Hibbard said she was honored to see and speak with the party’s many attendees, something that reflects what she will miss the most about her job.

      Hibbard 1

Hibbard is retiring after 26 years of service to the community. During her time, she significantly expanded Manhattan’s convention and tourism scenes.

As another acknowledgment of her impact on the community, K-State Men’s Basketball Coach Jerome Tang sent Hibbard (an avid basketball fan) a personal message and a signed basketball.

      Hibbard 2

Click to view slideshow.

Despite her retirement, Hibbard says she will still be working to support the community.

      Hibbard 3

Hibbard first joined the Chamber of Commerce back in 1978. After a brief departure to focus on family and volunteering, Hibbard returned in 1997. She took over for Becky Blake as CVB director in 2005 when Blake became the Kansas Tourism Director.