Deborah (Davis) Bardo was born in 1953 in Lowell, Massachusetts. A native Kansan, her father soon brought the family back to Wichita where Deborah grew up. After graduating from West High School, Deborah attended Wichita State University. She and John met in Neff Hall in 1974 and married in 1975.
Deborah holds an associate’s degree in secretarial studies, a bachelor’s degree in business education, and a master’s degree in communication all from WSU. She also studied anthropology at Southwest Texas State University. While a student at WSU she was active in the International Student Club and with her professional honor society. After graduation she worked on campus as a secretary in the Department of Marketing and as an assistant editor for university publications. With the birth of their son Christopher, Deborah left the university to become a full-time mom and to support her husband’s academic career. She now serves as Wichita State University’s First Lady.
Over the years she has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, various schools, Meals on Wheels, and has strongly supported both public and university libraries. Deborah enjoys travel, being with family, and is an avid collector of Fiesta Ware. She also is known for the doll houses that she builds and furnishes, one of which is now part of the Western Carolina University Mountain Heritage Center collection. In her role as First Lady she especially enjoys being around the university’s students and in supporting the many events that bring the community and university together.
Deborah and John’s son, Christopher, lives in Wichita and is attending WSU.