Robert Morin (librarian)

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Reading room in Dimond Library

Robert Morin (January 3, 1938 - March 31, 2015) was a librarian at the University of New Hampshire's Dimond Library from 1965 to 2014 where he catalogued DVDs, CDs, and music scores. He donated $4 million to the university in his will,[1][2] and a scandal later emerged after the university spent a quarter of it on a new football scoreboard.[3][4]

Life[edit]

Morin was born in Nashua, New Hampshire to Louis and Gabrielle Morin.[2] He graduated from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham in 1961, and earned a master's degree in library science from Simmons College. He then began his career as a librarian at the Dimond Library.

He lived a frugal life, driving an old car, a 1992 Plymouth, and did not go out for entertainment. He regularly ate Fritos with a Coke for breakfast and TV dinners in the evening. He enjoyed reading and read every book published in the United States between 1930 and 1938, excluding children’s books, textbooks, cookbooks and books on technology. He also viewed over 22,000 videos from 1979 to 1997, averaging three videos per day.[1][5]

A UNH spokesperson said that he smoked a pipe and loved sitting in front of the library talking with students. "He was very committed to the student workers who worked in our main library.”[5]

Bequest[edit]

Cowell Stadium

After Morin retired in 2014 he lived in an assisted-living home for 15 months, and, according to a UNH spokesperson, began taking an interest in football.[6]

His entire estate of $4 million was left to UNH, most of it in unrestricted funds; Morin dedicated only $100,000 for the library and library science scholarships.[7] UNH earmarked $2.5 million to expand its career center, while $1 million was budgeted for a video scoreboard at the campus stadium. Use of the bequest for a video scoreboard drew broad criticism, with one alumna stating "the school’s administrative decision to spend a quarter of Morin’s generous donation on a inconsequential trinket for the athletic department is a complete disgrace to the spirit and memory of Robert Morin."[8][9] Advertising revenue from the scoreboard, the administration argued, showed a good return on the investment.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Haas, Kimberley. "UNH librarian leaves $4 million to school". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Robert Morin, Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ Fehrman, Craig (October 11, 2017). "How UNH Turned A Quiet Benefactor Into A Football-Marketing Prop". Deadspin. 
  4. ^ Doctorow, Corey (October 11, 2017). "How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian's donation on a stupid football scoreboard". Boing Boing. 
  5. ^ a b Guarino, Ben (September 16, 2016). "University to buy $1 million football scoreboard with thrifty librarian's money, outraging critics". Washington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Librarian's Gift". UNH Today. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2017-10-17. 
  7. ^ $1 Million Of Frugal Librarian's Bequest To N.H. School Goes To Football Scoreboard. NPR The Two-Way, September 15, 2016.
  8. ^ Seltzer, Rick. "The librarian's bequest". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  9. ^ Cortese, Claire. "How The University Of New Hampshire Chose To Waste An Alum's $4m Gift". Odyssey. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  10. ^ Duffort, Lola (October 20, 2017). "Controversial UNH scoreboard revenue raises $120,000 for student aid". Concord Monitor.