GOOD

A Frugal Librarian Gave $4 Million To His University — Which Then Bought A Football Scoreboard Few People Want

The school quietly used a man’s legacy to fund an overpriced amenity, and people are furious.

One could argue that an “unrestricted” donation to a university is fair game for the school to administer as it sees fit. Robert Morin is no longer alive to offer his thoughts on the University of New Hampshire’s allocation of his $4 million gift to the school, but that hasn’t stopped many from crying foul about the librarian’s quiet donation used to fund a $1 million scoreboard for the team’s football stadium.

A Deadspin investigation into the matter found that Morin, who worked as a librarian at the school for 49 years, left a shocking donation of $4 million to the school at the time of his death. An ABC News report claimed that Morin “left it all to the place he loved most.”


However, UNH didn’t seem to care much about honoring Morin’s work and legacy with the generous donation. The man who scrimped and saved most every spare dollar he had to give it back to the school he loved would have seen only $100,000 of his gift funding his beloved library, with much of the balance funding what many feel are inessential extravagances such as the scoreboard. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the school worked very hard to spin the story of Morin’s last years into a validation of the football team’s funding. The newspaper states, “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.”

According to a statement released by the school, Morin’s $4 million gift will include:

  • $2.5 million toward an expanded career center for students and alumni;
  • $1 million toward a video scoreboard for the new football stadium; and
  • $100,000 to Dimond Library, 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.”

The school feels it is well within its rights to spend the money as it sees fit, arguing that the library allocation was the only “dedicated gift” mentioned by Morin. NPR reports that Deborah Dutton, an executive for the UNH Foundation conveyed, “Unrestricted gifts give the university the ability to use the funds for our highest priorities and emerging opportunities.”

So the man who spent his life giving to the UNH library will be honored in that vein only as much as he planned to honor it himself with the specific dedication. $1 million will go to the financing of a new scoreboard, which UNH has deemed its “highest priority.”

According to the Deadspin report, UNH knew that the optics of their actions would prove controversial, so they downplayed the funding of the scoreboard, instead focusing on the more practical applications of his money. The school’s Facebook post announcing the new of Morin’s gift doesn’t mention the scoreboard at all.

Nevertheless, the uses of Morin's life savings are now public knowledge, and people aren't happy with how the school treated his sacrifice and legacy, even if it was at their discretion.

There is no claim that the school isn't acting within its rights, which means that while people may continue to criticize and shame the institution, ultimately their sense of priority and consideration guide the decision. But based on the overwhelming reaction to the school's path here, it may be that this free money cost them more than they thought it would.

Sports
Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

Keep Reading Show less
promo-homepage

It's easy to become calloused to everyday headlines with messages like, "the world is ending" and "everything is going extinct." They're so prevalent, in fact, that the severity of these statements has completely diminished to the point that no one pays them any attention. This environmental negativity (coined "eco-phobia") has led us to believe that all hope is lost for wildlife. But luckily, that isn't the case.

Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics