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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

COMING SOON: Two WFI-Funded and student-made Social Justice Documentary Films 

Rooted will premiere at Villanova's John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts on on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 6 PM On Friday evening April 29, 2022 at 6 PM it is followed by a Benefit Concert at Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia.

To learn more about Rooted, please see Last Letter Films,  the student production company's website, and YouTube for the trailer and clips.

The screening and benefit concert are open to the public with the purchase of  tickets for Rooted and for the benefit concert, Viva La Bomba.

We Don't Walk in Fear poster

We Don't Walk in Fear will premiere on Saturday, April 30, 2022 with a reception starting at 6 PM followed by the screening at 7 PM. Both events take place at Villanova's Connelly Center Cinema and are free and open to the public. To learn more about this film, please see the student production company's website at Talking Walls Studios and on Instagram.

Please view the movie poster.

JUST ANNOUNCED! The recipients of our 2021-2022 WFI Research Grants! We are very pleased to have awarded nearly $80,000 in research grants for this academic year--and to an outstanding collection of projects embodying the WFI focus on communication and social justice. Click here for more details, including descriptions of this year's WFI Research Grant recipients...

Please join the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society on Thursday, March 10, from 4–5 p.m. in Tolentine Hall 215 for a free lecture with Dr. Lisa A. Flores from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her lecture is titled Im/Mobilities of Rhetorical Race Making. Transit Talks is a biannual series presented in collaboration with Temple University. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate the return of our Transit Talks lecture series, our collaboration with Temple University! More details...

The WFI is sponsoring the opening session at the National Communication Association Conference in November 2021: "Honoring Past and Present: Communication, Culture, and Change in Native Seattle." This roundtable session will feature NCA members, government officials, and community activists highlighting the role that communication plays in Native communities in the Pacific Northwest, through language, art, culture, and ritual. If you are attending the conference, please join us for this important event on Friday, 11/18, from 5-6:15pm! More details...

THE WFI & VILLANOVA'S 1842 DAY CHALLENGE! Thanks to the generosity of nearly 8,000 individual donors on September 22, 2020, the WFI unlocked a $1 million gift--and the Waterhouse family subsequently added an additional $1 million to support the Social Justice Documentary program. As a result of these generous gifts, our endowment has grown to over $5 million! We are excited at how this generous gift will enable us to increase and enhance our activities, and deepen the global impact of our funded work! More details...

Student Academy Awards WINNER! And GOLD MEDALIST! One of our WFI-funded social justice documentaries just won a Student Academy Award--and took home the Gold Medal! Sankofa,” a WFI-funded documentary produced by a team of students at Villanova, won the Documentary/Domestic Film Schools Category for the Student Academy Awards. Sankofa is a documentary about the loss of identity and its negative systemic impact on black males across the world. By exploring the complexities and parallels between the United States and Ghana, the film illuminates the prevalence of mental slavery. The film was shot in Ghana and the United States during the fall of 2017. This makes a total of 4 WFI-sponsored films that have been finalists for the Student Academy Awards, with "Sankofa" also being named a winner--a record of success which is unprecedented for a program like Villanova's! Congratulations to Prof. Hezekiah Lewis and his student team of talented and visionary storytellers! To watch the trailer, click here; to visit the production team's website, click hereMore details...

The WFI contributed to the National Communication Association's recent publication on scholarship and activism, "Communication's Civic Callings"--check it out and download the PDF!

The WFI has helped the National Communication Association unite scholarship and social justice since 2016. The WFI proudly sponsored the (virtual) opening session at the National Communication Association Conference in November 2020: The NCA Opening Session "Mental Health at the Crossroads: Intersections in Health and Society," examined the factors that impact mental health and mental health treatment, and the ways in which mental health intersects with race, gender, sexual orientation, educational attainment, and income. In 2019, the WFI sponsored "Race Relations in Charm City: Communicating Social Justice," a conversation regarding the pressing social justice issues tied to race in Baltimore--including poverty, violence, health, and wealth attainment. If you missed it in Baltimore, watch it onlineIn 2018, the WFI sponsored "Environmental Justice in the American Southwest," a fantastic panel focusing on the pressing environmental issues facing indigenous nations in Utah and the southwest as a whole 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!