'Very unusual' university librarian leaves school $4 million fortune

Robert Morin lived a simple life, working for nearly five decades in the library at the University of New Hampshire.

He spent little money in his 77 years, driving a 1992 Plymouth and eating, according to friends, Fritos and Coke for breakfast and TV dinners for supper. That frugal lifestyle is what allowed Morin to leave behind a $4 million estate at the time of his death last year.

Morin, who lived alone, left the entire amount to UNH. The university announced the gift last week, after it had cleared probate court.

“Bob’s demonstrated commitment to UNH through his philanthropy is tremendously inspiring,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said in a news release. “His generous gift allows us to address a number of university priorities."

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Morin’s bequest included just one dedicated gift -- $100,000 for his beloved Dimond Library, where he worked until his retirement in 2014, according to the Boston Globe. The university said that money would be used to provide scholarships for work-study students, support staff members who continue their studies in library science and fund the renovation of one of the library’s multimedia rooms.

Another $2.5 million will be used to launch an expanded career center for students and alumni, the news release said. A total of $1 million will go toward a video scoreboard for the university’s new football stadium.

Living in an assisted living facility over the final year and a half of his life, Morin watched football games on TV and learned the game.

The school describes Morin as having a passion for movies, watching more than 22,000 of them between 1979 and 1997. After accomplishing that feat, he turned to books.

Over the years, he read every book published in the United States from 1930 to 1940, except for children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology, UNH said. When he died, he had read a total of 1,938, the year of his birth.

Morin’s financial adviser, Edward Mullen, described him as a “very unusual gentleman” and a recognizable figure on campus, the Globe reported. He was about 5 feet tall, smoked a pipe, had a hunched back and wore an elevated shoe.

The library staff sometimes had to persuade him to shop for clothes. They took care of him over the years and drove him around after his health began to deteriorate.

Morin enjoyed the university’s students, particularly those working in the library, the Globe said. A memorial bench near the library bears his name and the year 1963, the year he graduated from the school he loved so much.  

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