DURHAM, N.H. (CBS) – University of New Hampshire officials are defending how they spent a $4 million gift left to the school when a former librarian died.
When Robert Morin died, he left $4 million to the university where he worked for nearly 50 years. Morin’s only specific request was that $100,000 be used to support those who want to study library science, and renovate a multimedia room at the library.
The school has since faced backlash from the UNH community for the decision to spend $1 million of the donation on a video scoreboard at the new football stadium.
UNH Director of Media Relations Erika Mantz defended the school’s decision in a statement Friday.
Robert Morin’s decision to leave his entire estate, $4 million, to the university was incredibly generous. Despite being asked many times over many years by his financial advisor it was Mr. Morin’s firm decision to designate only a small portion of his estate to the library and to leave the rest unrestricted for the university to use as it saw fit.
Of the donation, another $2.5 million was used to create a bigger career center for students and alumni.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan called the school’s scoreboard purchase “concerning and perplexing.”
“There were much more appropriate uses for these funds – such as the library and career center that received part of the donation, the new science building that the university wants or holding down the cost of tuition,” Hassan said.
The governor added that she would “strongly encourage” UNH leaders to “be more thoughtful when determining how to use donations such as this.”
In defending the scoreboard purchase, UNH officials said the school has historically invested little in athletics facilities, adding that “it showed.”
Wildcat Stadium was expanded and renovated this year for the first time since it was built in 1936.
“A facility like Wildcat Stadium is transformative to our campus experience in helping UNH to recruit the best and brightest students, build our campus and alumni community pride, and host events like Special Olympics and state high school championships that are as excellent as one would expect from a flagship state university,” Mantz said.
The school said it has “heard from people who disagree with how the gift was used,” but will not change its decision.