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John Bardo: Wichita State defined by excellence

  • Published Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 2:12 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 4:12 p.m.

It is so exciting to be back home at Wichita State University.

Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the great faculty and staff, and to have a chance to see anew the excellence that has defined this campus for decades. WSU is a national-class university right here in your hometown.

WSU is your regents’ research university in Wichita. That means we hire global-class faculty so you have the opportunity to study with people who are discovering new knowledge and finding ways to make our lives better.

Most people know that WSU is ranked second in the nation in aviation research. What you may not know is that our faculty in other areas of engineering, the sciences, health, education, the humanities and social sciences are conducting cutting-edge research in such areas as curing cancer, finding ways to stop Parkinson’s disease from progressing, regenerating nerves that have been damaged, improving interfaces between humans and computers, and teaching people to speak again after they have had strokes.

Such excellence is not just limited to faculty. You may not be aware but WSU philosophy majors have been accepted into some of the best graduate schools in the world including Harvard, Cornell, MIT and Claremont.

Graduates of our music and theater programs have performed on Broadway and starred in the Metropolitan Opera. Students in engineering help solve real-world problems, and many business majors have had opportunities to work in locations in Europe and Asia.

And if a student wants to have work experience before graduation, WSU has the largest cooperative education program in Kansas.

While WSU is already national class in so many ways, this summer we plan to start construction on a new residence hall and a new dining facility near the center of campus. The Rhatigan Student Center is being greatly expanded to provide additional recreation and meeting spaces for students.

And, starting in the fall, WSU’s undergraduate research program will be greatly expanded. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to work closely on real research projects of their own design. What a great way to learn and to prepare yourself for graduate school, professional school or a new career.

As a regents’ research university, WSU offers graduate programs that are nationally accredited, as well as excellent doctoral programs in such important areas as engineering, math, chemistry, education and psychology. Our graduate faculty members are among the nation’s leaders in their fields. Graduate education can prepare you for career advancement or open new horizons in research.

Students come to WSU from all over the world to study with our faculty, but you have the advantage of having this great university right in your own backyard.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Wichita if I didn’t talk about the Shockers. If you haven’t experienced a basketball game in Koch Arena, you have missed one of the great experiences in college athletics. This is big-time athletics right in your backyard.

But, from my perspective, what is even more important is that many WSU student-athletes receive academic honors and have a graduation rate much higher than the student body as a whole.

WSU offers so much, and my wife, Deborah, and I are so very happy to be back on campus. As those of us who love this university know:

It’s a great day to be a Shocker!

John Bardo is president of Wichita State University. Reach Bardo at wsupresident@wichita.edu. Learn more about WSU at www.wichita.edu.

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