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UNH librarian leaves $4 million to school

Union Leader Correspondent

August 30. 2016 8:30PM
UNH library employee Robert Morin saved all of his money, and through his will gave it to the school. (Courtesy)

DURHAM — Officials at the University of New Hampshire announced Tuesday that an unexpected benefactor left $4 million to the school.

Robert Morin, who died at the age of 77 in March 2015, was a cataloguer at UNH’s Dimond Library for nearly 50 years. His obituary said he was the man who wrote short descriptions of DVDs, entered ISBN numbers of CDs, and cataloged books of sheet music.

Morin was born in Nashua and attended school there before heading to UNH. He graduated in 1961 and went on to obtain his master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. Morin started working at Dimond in 1965, retiring in 2014.

Morin’s financial adviser, Edward Mullen, said the library worker was able to accumulate so much wealth because he never spent any money. Mullen started working with Morin in the early 1970s, and said by the 2000s he had saved quite a bit of cash in his checking and savings accounts. There was almost $1 million in his retirement account alone.

Mullen said Morin had an older vehicle and, despite being a millionaire, he ate frozen dinners.

“He never went out,” Mullen said.

Mullen said Morin decided to give all of his money to his alma mater because he did not have any relatives he wanted to leave it to. Morin trusted UNH to spend the money wisely for students.

The only dedicated gift in Morin’s bequest was $100,000 for Dimond Library. That money is earmarked to create scholarships for work-study students, support staff members who continue their studies in library science, and renovate and upgrade one of the library’s multimedia rooms.

UNH President Mark Huddleston said Tuesday that $2.5 million will help launch an expanded and centrally located career center for students and alumni.

“Bob’s demonstrated commitment to UNH through his philanthropy is tremendously inspiring,” Huddleston said. “We are committed to providing the resources needed to ensure every student achieves professional success and Bob’s gift will play a major role in that effort.”

Another $1 million will pay for a video scoreboard for the new football stadium. UNH spokesman Erika Mantz said that, in the last 15 months of his life, Morin lived in a Durham assisted-living center where he started watching football games on television. He mastered the rules and names of the players and teams.

In addition to liking football, Morin was an avid reader. Mantz said he read, in chronological order, every book published in the United States from 1930 to 1940, excluding children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology. At the time of his death, he had reached 1938, the year of his birth.

Morin also had a passion for watching movies. From 1979 to 1997, he watched more than 22,000 videos, Mantz said.

Deborah Dutton, vice president for advancement and president of the UNH Foundation, said unrestricted gifts such as Morin’s give the university the ability to use the funds for their highest priorities and emerging opportunities.

“This is an extraordinary gift that comes at a critical time for launching a number of initiatives that are only able to move forward because of (Morin’s) generosity,” Dutton said.

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