Robert Morin graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1961, and he had a passion for books and movies.
by Mary Jo DiLonardo
Robert Morin spent nearly 50 years working as a librarian on the campus of his alma mater, the University of New Hampshire. Because he was known to live simply, few at the Durham university knew that the long-time employee had amassed a $4 million estate. Morin died in March 2015, but this week the school announced he had left his fortune to the university.
“Bob’s demonstrated commitment to UNH through his philanthropy is tremendously inspiring,” university President Mark Huddleston said in a statement. “His generous gift allows us to address a number of university priorities.”
Morin loved movies, and from 1979 to 1997 he watched more than 22,000 videos. After he satisfied his passion for movies, he turned his attention to books, deciding to read — in chronological order — every book published in the United States from 1930 to 1940 except for children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology. When he died at the age of 77, he had gotten as far as 1938, the year he was born.
According to his obituary, his job at the library was to write short descriptions of DVDs, enter ISBN, or International Standard Book Numbers, for CDs, and to catalog books of sheet music.
Morin’s financial advisor, Edward Mullen, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his client was able to accumulate so much wealth because he rarely spent money. He drove an older vehicle and ate frozen dinners.
“He never went out,” Mullen said.
In the last year or so of his life, Morin lived in an assisted living facility where he developed a new passion: football. He became an avid fan, watching games on TV, learning the rules of the game along with the names of the players and the teams.
Mullen said Morin chose to give all his savings to his alma mater because he didn’t have any relatives he wanted to leave it to. Morin trusted the university would spend the money wisely for its students.
The only specific request in the donation was $100,000 dedicated to the Dimond Library where Morin worked. The money will “provide 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.”
Of the remaining funds, Huddleston said $2.5 million will help launch an expanded and centrally located career center for students and alumni, and $1 million will go toward a video scoreboard at the school’s new football stadium.