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Sparky's Quill: Virginia G. Piper Writers House

IMG_4373.JPG Virginia G. Piper Writers House on the corner of Palm Walk and Tyler Mall."

If you've ever walked the north side of Palm Walk, you've definitely seen this little house. Peculiarly placed in the middle of three very large science buildings, sits a little cottage with rocking chairs on it's porch. There are two very cozy little gardens on either side boasting pretty flowers and a babbling little fountain. One would say that on days when the campus is quiet, it would be the best place to write. So did the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Organization.

IMG_4376.JPG One of the pretty and cozy gardens on the east side.

The building was built in 1907 and the University's Presidents lived there until 1959. It was used as administrative offices until it was turned into a little haven for writers as well as the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing offices. But who was Virginia G. Piper and why is this oddly placed little house named after her? Piper was the wife of Motorola founder Paul V. Galvin (of the Galvin Playhouse on the Tempe campus). She became very philanthropic after his death in 1959, and dedicated herself to funding non-profit organizations in Maricopa County. Not only did she fund the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing that is housed in the Writer's House but also organizations dealing with the arts, healthcare, religion and medical research. There is the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, and the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons With Disabilities. The broad range and scope of donations made in her name through her Charitable Trust organization is truly inspiring. Now whenever you pass by on your way to class, take a second to smell the roses or take an hour to just sit in the garden or on the porch and let your creative juices flow.

IMG_4381.JPG Holly taking advantage of the quiet writing space.

Ever wonder why certain buildings on campus are named after certain people? Have a burning historical question? Drop us a line at or look us up on twitter @sparkysquill!

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