John Bardo_359562
Dr. John Bardo (Courtesy WSU)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita State University has announced the death of Deborah Bardo. She died Thursday. Bardo was married to WSU’s 13th president, Dr. John Bardo, for 44 years until his death in 2019.

Mrs. Bardo served as Wichita State’s first lady from 2012 to 2019. The university said she enjoyed being around students and supporting the many events that brought the community and university together.

In her time at Wichita State, she established the Deborah J. Bardo Scholarship, which provides annual awards to freshmen, with a preference for those who are the children or grandchildren of WSU faculty or staff.

Born in 1953 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Mrs. Bardo moved to Wichita as a child. After graduating from Wichita West High School, she attended Wichita State, where she met Dr. Bardo in 1974 and married in 1975.

Mrs. Bardo earned an associate’s degree in secretarial studies, a bachelor’s degree in business education, and a master’s degree in communication, all from WSU. She also studied anthropology at Southwest Texas State University.

While a student at WSU, she was active in the International Student Club and with her professional honor society. After graduation, she worked on campus as a secretary in the Department of Marketing and an assistant editor for university publications.

With the birth of their son, Mrs. Bardo left the university to become a full-time mom and support her husband’s academic career.

Over the years, she volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, various schools, Meals on Wheels, and strongly supported public and university libraries.

The couple is survived by their son, Christopher.