“Robert Morin worked nearly 50 years at the University of New Hampshire library and never seemed to spend any money,” writes Brian MacQuarrie of the Boston Globe. He ate fritos and coke for breakfast, a cheese sandwich for lunch and frozen dinners for dinner. I’m not saying this is the life for you. But I do think it’s pretty amazing how being frugal can impact one’s finances. At the core of Mr. Morin’s financial success is the fact that he discovered a system that worked for him and he stuck with it. The rest is in the history books.
He lived alone, rarely bought clothes, had Fritos and soda for breakfast, drove a 1992 Plymouth, and spent spare time reading almost every book — in chronological order — that had been published in the United States from 1930 to 1938.
Now, more than a year after his death at age 77, a lifetime of frugality has become UNH’s unexpected gift: Morin left his alma mater his entire estate of $4 million — a gold-plated nest egg that few people knew he had.
“His whole life was the library,’’ said Edward Mullen, Morin’s longtime financial adviser.
Elated UNH officials announced the bequest this week after it had cleared Probate Court, praising the single-minded generosity of a man who took pleasure in his work and in his decades of conversations with students.
“It’s very inspiring and exciting,’’ said Erika Mantz, a UNH spokeswoman. “In our history, I’m not aware of anything like this.’’
The university will use $2.5 million from the estate on an expanded career center and $1 million for a new video scoreboard at the football stadium. An additional $100,000 will go to the university’s Dimond Library, the only gift specified by the will.
Mullen said he spoke with Morin about using some of the money to fund a scholarship related to library science but said his client wanted UNH to spend almost all of the gift in any way it chose.
“He said, ‘They’ll figure out what to do with it,’ ’’ Mullen recalled Thursday.