Wichita State president John Bardo dies at 70

Wichita State University President, Dr. John Bardo died Tuesday after battling a chronic lung condition, university officials confirm. He was 70 years old.

At Wichita State, he guided several initiatives partnering the university with the local business community and expanding STEM-based programs. With Bardo at the helm, Wichita State began construction and continued expansion of the Innovation Campus.

He became the university's 13th president in July 2012. In just a few years, Wichita State says he physically and strategically transformed the university.

"He transformed the vision of the university, leading it through a period of rapid growth focused on applied learning for students and the economic growth of the region," Wichita State University says.

The university says "Dr. Bardo was an innovator, nationally recognized scholar and deep believer in the value of public research universities.

He suffered from the chronic lung condition for months, first entering the hospital in November.

"After spending several weeks in rehabilitation at home, he returned to Wesley (hospital) last weekend," the university says.

Dr. Bardo is survived by his wife of 44 years, Deborah Bardo and their son, Christopher.

The university says funeral services will be private, but there will be a Celebration of Life event this spring on campus for the WSU and Wichita community.

"Wichita State would like to extend an invitation to anyone wanting to share their memories, bring cards or sign notes of remembrance to come by the President’s Office, Morrison Hall, Room 203 during office hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) this Wednesday through Friday," the university says.

Message from Richard Muma, Provost and Acting President at Wichita State:

President Bardo had a profound positive impact on Wichita State and the community. Future generations of students will benefit from his foresight and leadership. He will be greatly missed. In coming days, the university will schedule a memorial event to honor him.

Even during his illness these last few months, Dr. Bardo remained keenly interested in the work of the university. The strategy, vision, mission and goals developed under his leadership will continue to guide us as we move forward, together.

Our thoughts are with John’s wife, Deborah, and their son Christopher.

The university is collecting tributes to Dr. Bardo. If you have thoughts or recollections to share, please send them to president@wichita.edu.