FORT WAYNE — With a $4 million revenue shortfall stemming from declining enrollment, IPFW has decided to no longer host RiverFest.
The free one-day event had been held for three years.
But budget constraints have made the event expendable.
The university plans to focus on other events in celebration of its 50th anniversary, such as Sculpture with Purpose, the Omnibus Lecture Series and Tapestry: A Day for You.
“With all these good things to look forward to, we have also had to take a hard look at projects and events subsidized by the university and evaluate them for alignment with our mission and priorities,” Chancellor Vicky Carwein wrote in an email to IPFW staff Thursday.
“As a result of this evaluation and our need to reduce our budget we will no longer host RiverFest,” the email said.
According to the RiverFest website, the event’s mission was “to preserve, protect and promote Fort Wayne’s rivers by raising awareness through education and fun.”
RiverFest on June 22 included a mud run, a 5K race, music, food, rides, art and thousands of attendees.
Last month, IPFW officials reported an enrollment of 13,449, a drop of about 2.3 percent. The number of students taking dual-credit courses through local high schools is up about 20 percent. But the number of returning juniors and seniors is declining, and fewer graduate students and transfer students are coming to the university, officials said.
Along with the announcement that the school will no longer host RiverFest, Carwein’s email said that initial plans for making “necessary budget adjustments” will be shared with the campus at the end of this month.
The university hopes to increase the number of Omnibus lectures and promote the annual Tapestry: A Day for You event, which will take place April 25 and feature actress Marilu Henner.
IPFW calls its Sculpture with Purpose the flagship project for its 50th anniversary celebration. The public-art initiative, already underway, will place 50 sculptural bicycle racks throughout the city.
The priority for the university, though, is attracting students.
“We really need to keep retention and recruitment in mind,” IPFW spokeswoman Nicole Wilkins said.