College's Use of Librarian's $4M Donation Under Fire

A quarter of Robert Morin's donation will go toward a new football scoreboard
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2016 2:21 PM CDT
College Librarian's Donation Going to $1M Scoreboard
Robert Morin, a library cataloger at the University of New Hampshire for nearly 50 years, left the school $4 million when he died. A quarter of that is being used on a new scoreboard for the football stadium.   (University of New Hampshire)

After living frugally while working for nearly 50 years as a library cataloger at the University of New Hampshire, Robert Morin left the school a $4 million donation when he died last year. The Washington Post reports $100,000 of that donation is going toward the library; $1 million of it is going to a new video scoreboard for the football stadium. Deborah Dutton, a university VP and president of the UNH Foundation, says in a press release that unrestricted donations are used for the university's "highest priorities." “The language we got was really about the president having discretion to use this gift in the way he or she sees fit," she tells Inside Higher Ed. But critics think UNH "needs a serious priority check."

UNH graduate Claire Cortese calls the decision to spend a quarter of the donation on a football scoreboard a "complete disgrace to the spirit and memory of Robert Morin," a fellow UNH graduate who drove a 1992 Plymouth, ate Fritos for breakfast, read almost every book published in the US between 1930 and 1938, and dedicated his life to the library. Other grads have taken to the UNH Facebook page to complain, and the chair of the faculty senate calls it a "matter of concern." In justifying its new scoreboard, UNH claims Morin became a big football fan while residing at an assisted living facility during the last 15 months of his life. "So clearly, that’s much more important than his lifelong passion of reading," Cortese writes. (Another frugal man left a surprise $4.8 million donation to a hospital and a library.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.