Robert Morin, a library cataloger at the University of New Hampshire’s Diamond Library lived frugally and amassed a $4 million estate, which he donated to the University upon his death. His extremely generous gift was largely unrestricted, with only $100,000 of it being restricted to the library in which he worked.
According to his financial advisor, Morin resisted restricting a larger percentage of the donation. He trusted the University’s President to spend the gift in a way that would be most beneficial to the University. Apparently, this was to purchase a $1 million video scoreboard for the University’s new $25 million football stadium.
The controversial purchase, unsurprisingly, has caused mixed feelings amongst faculty, students, and the general public.
A University of New Hampshire graduate, Claire Cortese argues in her blog, that the $1 million spent on the scoreboard could have been spent on research grants, student meal plans, or scholarships for students. The $1 million could have been used to “pay for four-year full-ride scholarships for 14 in-state students.”
Thomas Depuy, another outspoken critic, has gone as far as to call the use of this gift “an assault on a man’s life” The issue has been raised at a meeting of the University of New Hampshire’s Faculty Senate, according to Chair Dante Scala, a political science professor.
The Senate, however, hasn’t taken an official stance on the spending. Even the New Hampshire Governor, Maggie Hassan, has weighed in on the issue, calling the spending “concerning and perplexing.” She has commented that she would “strongly encourage UNH leaders to be more thoughtful when determining how to use donations such as this.”
Although we will never know for sure whether or not Morin would have approved of this purchase, this should serve as a cautionary tale for others who are considering leaving unrestricted gifts.
Leaving a gift with a specific requirement attached to it can be a great way to ensure that your hard earned legacy is going to support and further a cause that you are passionate about. Your gift could be used to establish a scholarship, help fund a program in need, or it could be used for a new scoreboard.
Either way, the choice should be yours. If you have any questions about making sure your money goes to the right places contact us today!