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In a final salute, Dr. Bardo’s funeral procession will travel through WSU campus

Bardo makes AAC announcement official

File video -- Wichita State president John Bardo told a gathering on Friday that the University had accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference. (April 7, 2017)
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File video -- Wichita State president John Bardo told a gathering on Friday that the University had accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference. (April 7, 2017)

A few days before he died, Wichita State President John Bardo was in an ambulance on his way to his family’s home after visiting Wesley Medical Center’s emergency room.

When the driver asked if there was anything Dr. Bardo wanted, the ailing president said yes:

He hadn’t been to WSU in three months. His battle with a chronic lung condition had kept him away. Could the driver please take him for a drive through campus?

It was March 7 when the ambulance driver granted that request, the university said in a news release Friday. Even though he couldn’t see out of the ambulance, Dr. Bardo told the driver it would be enough just knowing he had been on campus.

Dr. Bardo died five days days later.

On Monday, the late president will take a final ride through WSU as his funeral procession travels to his burial site. The procession is expected to be on campus between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., according to the university’s news release. It will include WSU police vehicles as well as a car carrying First Lady Deborah Bardo and other members of Bardo’s family.

The procession will enter and exit campus off of 17th Street “as a salute to Dr. Bardo’s interest in the Fairmount neighborhood ... and his joy in the realization of the Experimental Engineering Building, which opened in January 2017,” according to the news release.

The motorcade will make five brief stops as it moves through campus: near the Marcus Welcome Center, Wiedemann Hall, the 1970 crash memorial off of Hillside, the National Institute for Aviation Research and between the Rhatigan Student Center and Neff Hall, where Bardo and his wife met in 1974.

Students will be dismissed from class to watch the procession at their instructors’ discretion, the university said.

Dr. Bardo died Tuesday at age 70 following a hospitalization for the lung condition that started in November and required two surgeries.

The date of a public celebration of life event is expected to be announced sometime this spring. Monday’s funeral services are private.

Dr. Bardo was named president of WSU in 2012.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.
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