The Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society

The Waterhouse Family Institute (WFI), housed within Villanova University’s Department of Communication, was established by a generous gift from Lawrence Waterhouse Jr., ’59 A&S, founder of Waterhouse Investor Services, Inc.

The WFI was founded to highlight the centrality of Communication in the creation of social change. Our goal is to serve as the center of an international network of Communication scholars, practitioners, and activists working to create a more just social world.


WFI News and Upcoming Events:

  • ANNOUNCING OUR 2018-2019 WFI RESEARCH GRANTS RECIPIENTS! For 2018-19, the WFI awarded roughly $73,000 to faculty and doctoral-level scholars across the globe. Further, these scholars and their projects were an outstanding group; our acceptance rate for this year's grant program was only 14.5%. Please join us in congratulating this year's recipients. Interested in the WFI Research Grant Program, or learning more about this year's (or past years') recipients? More details...
  • THE WFI IS SPONSORING A SPOTLIGHT EVENT ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AT THE 2018 NCA ANNUAL CONFERENCE! Reflecting our ongoing partnership with NCA (see below), in 2018 the NCA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City will feature a special session, entitled "Environmental Justice in the American Southwest," and will bring together Communication scholars and community activists for a conversation regarding the pressing environmental issues facing indigenous nations in Utah. The event will be on Friday, Nov 9, from 6:30-7:30pm at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
  • As part of our new "Transit Talks" series, an exciting collaboration with Dr. Patrick Murphy and Temple University's Klein College of Media and Communication, the WFI will be hosting UCLA's Dr. Ramesh Srinivasan in Spring 2019 to discuss his research on media, social justice, and community resistance.
  • In Spring 2018, we premiered two WFI-funded Social Justice Documentaries, to great acclaim! Sankofa,” which held its premiere at WHYY in Center City, focuses on the connections between slavery, education, and identity in Ghana and Philadelphia. The film was shot on location in Ghana, and WFI support made it possible for the students and faculty to travel there. Our second film, The Mayor of Graterford, focuses on one Villanova graduate and former Grateford “lifer,” paroled late in life. The film focuses on the inequities of the criminal justice system, particularly involving elderly inmates sentenced to life at a young age, and adds a powerful new dimension to the call for criminal justice reform.
  • The WFI contributed to the National Communication Association's new publication on scholarship and activism, "Communication's Civic Callings"--check it out and download the PDF!
  • The WFI helped the National Communication Association unite scholarship and social justice through major events in 2016 and 2017! In 2017, the WFI sponsored "Lyrical Justice," a spotlight poetry slam engaging vital issues of social justice--and was a major success. In 2016, the WFI helped NCA connect scholarship and activism through the Social Justice Exchange. This spotlight event was part of the unique programming for NCA's 102nd conference: Communication's Civic Callings!
  • Two of our previous WFI-funded Social Justice Documentaries were chosen as finalists for the Student Academy Awards--a major honor for our program, faculty, and students!