Students, alumni remember President Bardo

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Wichita State University community continues to mourn the loss of Dr. John Bardo.

The 13th president of the university is being recognized by the university as "an innovator, nationally recognized scholar and deep believer in the value of public research universities."

"John moved Wichita State forward in a tremendously major way," said Steve Clark, Wichita business leader and former Kansas Regent. 

Clark led the WSU Presidential Search Committee that selected Bardo in 2012.

He described Bardo as having a unique "drive and vision and entrepreneurial spirit."

His vision for Innovation Campus, had critics and supporters, but Bardo changed the landscape of WSU.

"He wanted to grow the university, but he wanted to grow it in a way that was productive and collaborative with local business," said Clark.

During his six and half years in office, Bardo witnessed and led various milestones on campus. 

He saw the completion of the renovated Rhatigan Student Center, led the way for a new residence hall, spearheaded the construction of various construction projects at the Innovation Campus, and played a role in the move to the American Athletic Conference.

"It always kind of seemed like he wasn't just trying to improve the university; he was trying to improve the student's experience here. That's something that I definitely got to feel as a student," said Laura Restum, student.

Restum joined other students and staff members on Wednesday inside Bardo's office.

The community is welcomed to visit his office and write cards for the family.

To drop off condolences and cards, go to the second floor of Morrison Hall, Thursday and Friday, from 8 a.m .to 5 p.m.

The university will have a "Celebration of Life" event for the public later this spring.

Bardo's family plans to have a private funeral.