Bardo's time at WSU

"It's a great day to be a Shocker!"

Dr. Bardo loved to close speeches with that line, and the incredible pace of change on our campus—including a near doubling of the campus footprint—made for many "great days" during his tenure. Here's a timeline of developments made possible by Dr. Bardo's leadership, energy and vision. 


(Major building/facility openings in bold)


  • John Bardo is selected by the Kansas Board of Regents as 13th president of Wichita State University.  He took office on July 1, replacing retiring president Dr. Donald Beggs, and was inaugurated in a ceremony in October.
  • Bardo launched a formal strategic planning effort, envisioning a dynamic, powerful future for WSU. 
  • The university concurrently launched a consultant-led master planning process to engage the Wichita State community in the task of imagining the future of the main campus.


  • Construction begins on Shocker Hall, a $65 million student housing complex, near the center of campus. 
  • Phase I of the strategic planning process is completed, setting forth "big, audacious goals" for the university's future. The plan included a recasting of the vision, mission and values statements for the university.
  • The Office of Online Learning is established.
  • Koch Industries Inc. provides the lead gift to create the Koch Global Trading Center within Clinton Hall, home of WSU's W. Frank Barton School of Business.
  • WSU launches the WSU Shuttle System with multiple buses and routes. The service is the first of its kind at WSU.


  • Shocker Hall opens.
  • Koch Global Trading Center opens.
  • Multimillion-dollar renovation of Rhatigan Student Center completed. 
  • The Campus Master Plan, initiated in 2012, is delivered, giving the WSU community its first glimpse of the physical scope of Dr. Bardo's vision. Within five years, much of the plan will have come to fruition -- but on an even grander scale. 
  • The university filed a petition with the state to create the Wichita State Innovation Alliance Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves as the governing entity for development on the Innovation Campus.
  • Braeburn Golf Course is closed to make way for development.
  • Wheatshocker Apartments is razed to make way for the Experiential Engineering Building.
  • Kansas Family Business Forum (KFBF) Innovation Hub opens in Devlin Hall.
  • Koch Industries and the Fred & Mary Koch Foundation give $3.75 million for a community makerspace in the Experiential Engineering Building. The makerspace would eventually be named GoCreate, a Koch collaborative.


  • Airbus announces plans to relocate its entire Wichita engineering center to a new 90,000-square-foot building on campus.
  • WSU announces plans for a major commitment to downtown Wichita with the creation of WSU Old Town, a complex of community-focused facilities.
  • Plans announced for Braeburn Square, a 20-acre mixed-use development with restaurants, shops and lodging.
  • WSU launches its online badge program catering to working professionals and returning adults.


  • A four-bay Food Truck Plaza opens near the National Institute for Aviation Research on WSU's main campus. 
  • Phase II of the strategic planning process is completed with the development of college strategic plans aligned with the university's overall goals.
  • WSU steps up its I-35 corridor strategy with the launch of the Shocker City program, offering in-state tuition rates to students living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Kansas City, Missouri, metropolitan areas.
  • Plans announced for The Flats at WSU, a 112-unit student housing apartment complex.
  • Plans announced for a $9.5 million Law Enforcement Training Center in partnership with the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County. The facility would house WSU's Criminal Justice program.


  • Experiential Engineering Building opens.
  • Airbus Americas Engineering holds a grand opening its new facility.
  • Dassault Systemes holds a ribbon-cutting for its 3DExperience Center within the Experiential Engineering Building.
  • GoCreate makerspace holds its grand opening.
  • Dr. Bardo announces that Wichita State University will join the American Athletic Conference, ending a 72-year affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference. The conference change was official on July 1.
  • WSU and Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) receive the final approval needed to form an affiliation. WATC announces plans to change its name to WSU Tech.
  • Shocker Studios, a state-of-the-art professional production space that's home to the new Bachelor of Applied Arts program, opens in south Wichita.
  • WSU's first parking garage opens near the Rhatigan Student Center.
  • YMCA and Wichita State announce a partnership to construct a new student wellness center and fitness facility on campus.
  • The College of Applied Studies launches the Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP) creating a smooth path for para educators to become a teacher of record.
  • A free-standing Starbucks, the first building in Braeburn Square, opens.
  • The Flats at WSU opens.


  • The Law Enforcement Training Center opens.
  • Partnership Building 2 opens with the College of Engineering, Spirit AeroSystems and FirePoint Innovations Center as major tenants.
  • The original Pizza Hut building is relocated and reopened as the Pizza Hut Museum.
  • President Bardo testifies before U.S. House of Representatives' Educational Workforce Committee touting applied learning strategies as a model to stimulate local economics.
  • Plans for Woolsey Hall, a new home for the Barton School of Business, are announced.
  • WSU Tech announces plans to move its Southside Center to East Harry, joining Shocker Studios and WSU South at that facility.
  • WSU enrolls its largest freshman class for the third successive year and increases overall headcount to 15,784.
  • Wonder, an independent experiential learning school, opens on campus.
  • The WSU Haysville satellite location opens. 
  • WSU announces a new partnership with McConnell Air Force Base to offer the opportunity for

    military personnel to work toward their bachelor's degree while on base.

  • Fuzzy's Taco Shop announced it will establish a location in WSU's Braeburn Square with a planned fall 2019 opening.
  • Shocker Store location opens in the Braeburn Square development.
  • WSU holds an Open House pep rally at Braeburn Square, marking the first event at the new event at the development.
  • A new segment of 18th Street opens in the southeast quadrant of campus, completing the traffic infrastructure for the new portion campus.
  • Meritrust Credit Union opens its doors in Braeburn Square.
  • Hyatt Place Hotel announces plans for a 110-room hotel on the Wichita State campus.
  • Dr. Bardo hospitalized and undergoes surgery for a chronic lung condition.


  • Provost Richard Muma is asked to serve as acting president during Bardo's recovery.
  • The National Institute for Aviation Research Crash Dynamics Lab breaks ground.
  • The Shocker City program is extended to include Denver; St. Louis; St. Joseph, Missouri; Houston; San Antonio; Waco; and Killeen-Temple, Texas.
  • A new residence hall, called The Suites at WSU, breaks ground southeast of The Flats at WSU.
  • WSU announces a partnership with Wichita Transit to allow WSU students, faculty and staff to ride city buses for free.
  • The demolition of Fairmount Towers is completed.
  • Hyatt Place Hotel breaks ground on the far east side of campus with a planned spring 2020 opening.
  • The new Student Health and Wellness Center, which will include the on-campus YMCA, breaks ground.
  • Construction begins on the Eck Stadium Performance Facility.
  • The Office of Online Learning, established in 2013, grew from 55 students enrolled to more than 1,300.
  • Dr. Bardo dies March 12, 2019 at the age of 70. The Kansas Board of Regents says it will announce information regarding about the search for a permanent presidential replacement at the appropriate time.