After more than three months on the job, Dr. John Bardo was formally inaugurated Friday as the 13th president of Wichita State University.
Bardo gave his inaugural address to a crowd of faculty, staff, students, state officials and community members– including former WSU President Don Beggs and Gov. Sam Brownback.
He said it is more clear to him than ever that the fortunes of Wichita State and those of the greater Wichita area are linked.
"WSU is not just a university in the city, it is a university of the city," said Bardo. "And being of the city has always made a huge difference and all indications are that in the globalized world, it will be of even greater importance."
Bardo said the city’s main industry - aircraft and aerospace - is increasingly subject to global competition and the university is in a position to help diversify the economic base and support new ventures.
"Fifty percent of all jobs in Kansas, 50 percent, are immediately related to intellectual property or derived from jobs that relate to intellectual property. And intellectual property is what we get when we take technology and we take ideas and we bring them out to the marketplace. 50 percent of all jobs, that is hardly a traditional state," he said.
Bardo announced a $50,000 fund to provide small grants for student applicants to support undergraduate research, and a program that will experiment with new ways of teaching to control costs and improve learning outcomes.
He also plans to build the first new student residence hall since the 1960s.
Bardo’s first academic position was at WSU, where he chaired of the sociology and social work department from 1978 to 1983. He went on to hold a variety of appointments at universities in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas and North Carolina.
Most recently, he was chancellor of Western Carolina University.