Harvard University has named pop singer Rihanna its Humanitarian of the Year.
Harvard’s yearly humanitarian award goes to “‘prominent public-spirited leaders” in honor of the late Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes, a beloved preacher, theologian and character at Harvard. Gomes was “one of the nation’s truly great preachers and one of Harvard’s truly great scholars,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr. to the Harvard Gazette when Gomes died in 2011 at age 68.
Harvard is recognizing Robyn Rihanna Fenty for her philanthropy. In 2012, she founded the nonprofit Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries. The scholarship is named for her grandparents, said Harvard.
Rihanna supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides education to children in more than 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and others who have limited access to education, said S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director.
She has also “built a state-of- the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados.”
Past recipients of Harvard’s humanitarian award include Lionel Richie, U.N. Secretaries General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan, Malala Yousafzai, and Hans Rosling. Rihanna will accept the award at Harvard University February 28.