Former WSU first lady dies

Former WSU First Lady Deborah Bardo (Courtesy of

Former First Lady of Wichita State Deborah Bardo died this morning at 68, according to a university news release.

Bardo was married to former University President John Bardo for 44 years and served as first lady for seven years. During her time at Wichita State, she created the Deborah J. Bardo scholarship — a scholarship that provides yearly awards to freshmen, specifically those with parents and grandparents who went to WSU.

Bardo was born in 1953 in Lowell, Massachusetts and moved to Wichita when she was a child. She earned her associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees all from WSU. She also met her husband there.

Her husband, John Bardo, died in 2019 at the age of 70 after being hospitalized with a chronic lung condition.