Money

A librarian secretly built a $4 million fortune and left it all to his alma mater

Robert Morin
Source: University of New Hampshire

New Hampshire resident and librarian Robert Morin led a simple life.

He lived alone, drove a 1992 Plymouth and never went out.

"He would have some Fritos and a Coke for breakfast, a quick cheese sandwich at the library, and at home would have a frozen dinner because the only thing he had to work with was a microwave," Morin's longtime financial advisor Edward Mullen told the Boston Globe.

You wouldn't know it from his lifestyle, but Morin — who graduated from the University of New Hampshire before working in the school's library for nearly 50 years — was a multimillionaire. In fact, very few people did know, until he died in March 2015 at age 77 and bequeathed his entire $4 million fortune to his alma mater.

It was a complete "surprise to the university community," Erika Mantz, director of media relations at UNH, told CNBC. "People were honored and excited to learn of his generous bequest. "

Morin's simple lifestyle allowed him to stash most of his income in a checking account and certificates of deposit, and his advisor helped him contribute to mutual funds and annuities, the Boston Globe reported: "Morin also bought several life-insurance policies over the years, all intended to benefit the university from which he earned a bachelor's degree in 1961."

He earmarked just a fraction of his generous gift, requesting $100,000 go toward the Dimond Library, where he spent the majority of his career.

"It 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," Mantz explained in a press release.

As for the remaining $3.9 million, Morin told his financial advisor that he trusted the school to "figure out what to do with it."

The majority — $2.5 million — will go toward launching a career center for UNH students and alumni.

Another $1 million will fund a video scoreboard for the school's new football stadium, an appropriate allocation considering the librarian became a football buff in the last 15 months of his life, Mantz said.

Robert Morin
Source: University of New Hampshire
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