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University Criticized For Using Librarian’s Donation on $1M Football Scoreboard

2 minute read

The University of New Hampshire is facing criticism for the way it has chosen to spend a $4 million donation left by a longtime university librarian in his will.

Robert Morin, who worked at the university’s Dimond Library for nearly 50 years, left his entire $4 million estate to the university when he died in 2015. He dedicated $100,000 to the library and did not specify how the rest of the donation should be used, UNH said in a statement. With the remaining money, the university plans to spend $2.5 million on a student career center and $1 million on a new video scoreboard at the school’s new football stadium.

That decision has drawn criticism from some graduates and community members who have spoken out on social media, noting that the scoreboard will receive 10 times as much as the library—a disparity they believe is contradictory to Morin’s interests and lifestyle. The school recently spent $25 million on the stadium, which opened for its first game this month.

Faculty Senate Chairman Dante Scala told Inside HigherEd that the issue was discussed at a recent faculty meeting.

“It’s a matter of concern, and it plays into a larger issue that I’m sure you’re seeing at a lot of institutions about investing in athletic facilities versus academics and academic facilities,” Scala said.

The university has defended the choice, pointing out that most of Morin’s gift will be spent on a career center that will benefit students. In a statement, university spokeswoman Erika Mantz said Morin enjoyed watching football while staying at an assisted living center in the last year of his life.

“Yes, we have heard from people who disagree with how the gift was used. We respect and acknowledge that feedback but it does not change our decision,” Mantz said in a statement on Friday.

“Historically UNH has invested very little in athletics facilities, and it showed,” she said, describing the new stadium as “transformative to our campus experience.”

Staff at Dimond Library referred all comment to Mantz.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com