Hundreds gathered at Wichita State University to pay respect to President John Bardo with a funeral procession through campus.
Dr. Bardo died on March 12 after complications from a chronic lung condition.
When President Bardo was in an ambulance earlier this month heading home from the hospital, he was asked by the driver if there was anything he needed.
Dr. Bardo said he wanted to go to campus, and although he couldn’t see the view from inside the ambulance, he said just knowing he was there was satisfaction enough.
WSU wanted to give him that wish one last time.
WSU police escorated Dr. Bardo and his family through campus as he headed to his final resting place.
“He did so much for the campus,” said Aidan Guidici, student. “He certainly deserves to get to go through it one last time. I think that’s really a beautiful sentiment.”
Family, students, staff and even alumni lined up to pay their respects.
You could hear the silence, but that stillness had great meaning.
“They all came out as a silent thank you for all that he did,” said Josh Glaser, WSU alumni.
“I wouldn’t be on the campus here if it wasn’t for him,” said Lisa Hansen, director of WSU One Stop Student Services. “I just count myself really honored and our whole staff does as well to be a part of the legacy that he left at Wichita State. So, we wanted to do what we could to pay our respects.”
A photo of Dr. Bardo stood surrounded by sunflowers.
Others brought their own flowers to give to the family.
“It’s been an amazing day to see the legacy he is leaving and continuing to build on,” said Jaren Glaser, WSU alumni.
Several stops were made during the procession in different parts of campus.
One of those stops featured the university’s choir.
“It makes me feel honored to be able to be a part of that and be able to sing in his honor, the alma mater,” said Baylee Almos, student.
A day to honor Dr. Bardo and all that he did, as well as a way for those in Wichita and beyond to celebrate his life.
“Even if we didn’t get to know him in life, we’ll get to honor him after he’s passed and appreciate what he’s done for us all,” said Guidici.
Officials at the university say a public celebration of life for President Bardo will be announced later this spring.