Ad Astra — John Bardo sets his sites on the stars for Wichita State

oath                                                                                                                      Photo courtesy of The Shocker, Wichita State's alumni magazine

President John Bardo, accompanied by his wife, Deborah, takes the oath of office administered by District Judge Eric Melgren.

Flags representing Wichita State’s colleges, faculty in regalia, music soaring through the auditorium and honorees taking the stage — all created a pageantry that led to the inauguration of the 13th president of Wichita State University, Dr. John W. Bardo.

   Bardo took the oath of office on Oct. 12 at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, vowing to lead WSU to the stars. Ad Astra, the theme of his speech, referenced part of the Kansas state motto, which is “ad astra per aspera,” or “to the stars through difficulties.”

   Ad astra “speaks to how this university can lead the way to the future that is brighter than we can conceive and in which our children and grandchildren can live prosperous and meaningful, fulfilling lives,” he said. “But, to do so, we are going to have to raise our own sites to the stars.”

Bardo & Brownback  Photo courtesy of The Shocker, Wichita State's alumni magazine

Listening to the keynote address are, from left, Robert Ross, associate professor of marketing and Faculty Senate President; President Bardo; Gov. Sam Brownback; and Tim Emert, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents.

Notable Attendees:

Inauguration program participants included Robert Ross, WSU Faculty Senate president; Tim Emert, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents; Victoria Mosack, WSU Faculty Senate president-elect; Charlie Nelms, former chancellor of North Carolina Central University; Gov. Sam Brownback and District Judge Eric Melgren.

   “WSU is an intellectual giant in the middle of the country that’s awakening. It’s setting direction and it’s moving with purpose. It is that giant who can reach higher than anyone ever expected. You have the capacity to reach the stars.”

   Bardo emphasized that WSU students receive a global-class education taught by world-class faculty. The quality of their education is crucially important, he said. “We have to be able to help all people gain the capacity for education and to move forward with a hand up, not a hand out,” he said.

   As he has done during a series of campus and community meetings, Bardo spoke about the five areas on which he will focus to take WSU to the stars. They are:

      • Quality in everything we do
      • Increased enrollment
      • A higher quality of student life, giving students more opportunities to connect with their campus
      • Enhanced basic research
      • A focus on technology transfer to take the ideas of faculty, staff and students to the marketplace and to enhance public/private partnerships

   "This is a great university,” Bardo said. “It has a tremendous faculty, it has a huge future. We can look to the stars. You are that awakening giant that can reach the stars – ad astra.

address                                                                                        Photo courtesy of The Shocker, Wichita State's alumni magazine 
President John Bardo gives his inaugural address entitled "Ad Astra." He is wearing the Presidential Medallion presented earlier in the ceremony by Gov. Sam Brownback.
Banners                            Photo courtesy of The Shocker, Wichita State's alumni magazine
A flurry of colorful university banners were carried out during the recessional.



Choir                                                                                                        Photo courtesy of The Shocker, Wichita State's alumni magazine
The Wichita State University Madrigal Singers, directed by Tom Wine, performed "In My Life" by The Beatles, arr. Zegree.


circle arrow To learn more about Bardo’s areas of focus, the strategic planning initiatives and town hall meeting dates, please go to


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