Tour ASU's 'haunted' hallowed halls

October 27, 2011

There are things that go bump in the night for no apparent reason.

Arizona State University carries within its hallowed halls stories of spirits that purportedly haunt the university. An old operating room at the Polytechnic campus Download Full Image

There are tales of a boy with a red balloon who wanders the former barracks at the Polytechnic campus. And, if you ever think you hear a phantom bark at the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory, you may be experiencing the ghost of a dog who is rumored to haunt the building at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Other select ASU “haunted” places:

• Matthews Center has many stories associated with ghosts such as a librarian who reportedly died there during a fire who still frequents the place and another woman who lost her life in the building and supposedly stalks workers who toil in the basement of the building late at night.

• The Community Services Building on Curry Road is a former tuberculosis and children’s hospital where people have mentioned eerie, unexplained occurrences such as things falling off shelves and doors closing. Some have reported hearing the sounds of children playing in the building’s halls while others feel a spooky presence at night.

• A spirit has purportedly been sighted at the old Williams Air Force Base Hospital on the Polytechnic campus. One ASU employee whose department had storage there recalls walking through a door from a modern, remodeled university room into an area that was like walking into the 1940s complete with an old operating room, olive drab tiles on the floors and walls and lights and cabinets on both sides of the room. He went farther into the space and found an old scrub area and an autoclave used to sterilize instruments. Enormous four-feet in diameter parabolic lights were still hung in the operating room creating an “absolutely creepy” atmosphere.

During a different journey into the rooms from yesteryear, the employee opened a door and scared the daylights out of two ASU staff members who stammered, “You came out of there! You know that’s haunted, don’t you?” One of the two employees who had been in the old area alone reported seeing someone walk across a doorway. The other staffer said she went home that night and dreamed that she was in the area near the autoclave and saw the word “Jason” being written into the dust on top of one of the cabinets “by nothing.”

• The Virginia G. Piper Writers House once served as the home of the university’s presidents. There is a rumor that the home is frequented by the ghost of Dixie Gammage, wife of President Grady Gammage. She became an invalid and was confined to the house’s second floor where she stayed until she passed away. After her death, she was purportedly seen on occasion walking past second-story windows dressed in a bathrobe and wearing a hat.

• There are stories about a spirit inhabiting the halls of the U.S. Post Office on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Rumors of people walking in the hall with no one there and doors closing on their own accord persist.

• Another story tells the tale of Native American warriors who allegedly roamed the halls of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at night. Bones loaned to the territorial college by the U.S. Army in the past reportedly were stored in the building. The ghosts apparently disappeared when the bones were repatriated to the tribes.

There are also tales of African spirits in the building who were linked to skeletal remains there and a few people claim to have experienced the ghost of a former professor who seemed to be a friendly sort at least.

ASU, Colorado among 'Peace Corps Top Colleges'

October 27, 2011

Editor's Note: Arizona State will take on the University of Colorado, Oct. 29, in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Arizona State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder are named “Peace Corps Top Colleges 2011” for being among the top 25 large universities with the most alumni who are serving as Peace Corps volunteers. Download Full Image

ASU currently has 58 alumni serving in 37 of the 77 countries where Peace Corps operates. The majority of volunteers are working in health, education and business development. ASU students serve in countries as diverse as Bulgaria, Mongolia and Suriname.

Lassana Toure, who joined ASU as its first full-time Peace Corps recruiter just over a year ago, says interest among students in serving is high.

“ASU and President Crow have made it a point to focus on national and international service,” Toure said. “With the movement toward high-impact careers, and the opening of Changemaker Central at the Memorial Union, the number of students I’m seeing has risen.”

Federal budgetary restraints have made Peace Corps positions highly competitive, he says, but there is a high need for individuals with specific skills and language abilities. He especially seeks students in public health, agricultural economics or agribusiness, youth development, also civil engineers, hydrologists and environmental educators.

The Peace Corps also needs English teachers with master’s degrees who have completed at least one year’s study in French or Spanish, as well as math and science teachers who have some experience teaching junior high or high school.

Toure will have a table at the ASU Graduate School Fair at the Memorial Union in Tempe, scheduled to take place from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Nov. 3. Students also can contact him via e-mail, at

The University of Colorado currently has 117 alumni serving overseas, and the school recently announced a new program allowing students to pursue graduate school and serve in the Peace Corps simultaneously. Students earning master’s degrees in business administration, education, environmental studies or geography may do one year of graduate work, deploy for two years of Peace Corps service and return to CU for the second year of master’s studies.

ASU also has a master's international program in which students can get their master's in sustainability and complete service in the Peace Corps, simultaneously.

Other Pac-12 schools listed in the “Peace Corps Top Colleges” are University of Washington, UCLA, University of Arizona, University of Oregon and Oregon State.

Written by Sarah Auffret

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library