A video scoreboard for the football stadium

A guy works at the University of New Hampshire library for 50 years, saves all his money, and leaves the University $4 million in his will. Great story, no? Yes, except for what the university elected to do with it.

The university dedicated $2.5 million to an expanded, centrally located career center, it said when it announced the gift two weeks ago. It put $100,000 toward the Dimond Library, where Morin worked, fulfilling the only specific spending request he attached to his donation. And with much of the remaining gift, the university wrote a controversial check.

It put $1 million toward a video scoreboard for its new $25 million football stadium.


Ok the university points out that only 100k was earmarked. Yes, I get that, but I think they should have spent his money in a less revolting way anyway. Like, for instance, to honor his generosity and the discipline that made it possible, they could have put it toward scholarships for poor students. All of it, apart from the library’s 100k. Or they could have given it all to the library, to spend as they chose.

One particularly blistering blog post by New Hampshire graduate Claire Cortese — illustrated by dollars being tossed into a toilet — says the scoreboard spending shows the university needs to check its priorities. Cortese details what she sees as high student debt among alumni and questionable university spending in recent years on amenities such as a light-up table for a dining hall and a new logo. She goes on to argue that the $1 million for the scoreboard could have been spent on research grants, student meal plans or scholarships for students — she points out the sum is enough to pay for four-year full-ride scholarships for 14 in-state students at New Hampshire’s quoted tuition and fee level of more than $17,000 per year.

“Ultimately, the school’s administrative decision to spend a quarter of Morin’s generous donation on a inconsequential trinket for the athletic department is a complete disgrace to the spirit and memory of Robert Morin,” Cortese wrote. “As a Wildcat, I feel deeply saddened and honestly completely ashamed of my alma mater for this.”

Claire Cortese has more sense than the University of New Hampshire does.

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