Robert Morin lived a simple, frugal life.
He drove a ’92 Plymouth, the Boston Globe reported. In his free time, Morin read — a lot. And he didn’t eat fancy meals.
“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,” his financial adviser, Edward Mullen, told the Globe. “He was a very unusual gentleman.”
Morin was a longtime employee at the University of New Hampshire library; he worked as a cataloguer, which is basically someone who writes descriptions of new material coming into the library.
Last week, the university announced that when Morin died in March 2015 at the age of 77, he left his estate to the school.
“It’s very inspiring and exciting,” Erika Mantz, a UNH spokeswoman, told the Globe. “In our history, I’m not aware of anything like this.”
A UNH news release about the gift noted that “few suspected” Morin, a graduate of the school, had “quietly amassed” millions. But his life wasn’t super extravagant. He watched thousands of videos, according to the release, and read a bunch of books. Okay, that’s all sort of an understatement. I don’t know if I can really capture it, so I’m just going to go ahead and quote this portion of the news here, because, wow:
Morin also had a passion for watching movies, and from 1979 to 1997 he watched more than 22,000 videos. Following this feat, he switched his attention to books. He read, in chronological order, every book published in the U.S. from 1930 to 1940 — excluding children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology. At the time of his death he had reached 1,938, the year of his birth.
“He never went out,” Mullen, the financial adviser who helped Morin build his wealth, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Morin was employed by the university for nearly five decades before his retirement in 2014. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, he was paid $102,220, according to a Nashua Telegraph database of salaries provided by the University System of New Hampshire.
Mullen, in his interview with the Globe, called Morin a “very bright guy and a very smart guy.” He told the newspaper that Morin wanted to give UNH freedom to spend the gift and trusted them to use his funds.
“He said, ‘They’ll figure out what to do with it,’ ” Mullen told the Globe.
In a phone interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Mantz called Morin “a very recognizable person on campus” who lived a simple and quiet life, stayed away from controversy and frequently took the time to chat with students.