The singer will head to campus next week to accept the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award

By Brianne Tracy
February 22, 2017 07:10 PM
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Frazer Harrison/Getty

Rihanna may be widely celebrated for her music, but now she’s accepting a different type of honor—for her humanitarian work.

The 29-year-old singer has been named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year and will accept the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award at a ceremony on campus next Tuesday.

“Rihanna has charitably 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,” said Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter.

The vocal philanthropist also created the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandmother and grandfather to improve health, education and arts and culture around the world. The charity offers a scholarship program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries.

Last month, Rihanna traveled to Malawi to spend time with key educators, government officials, students and mentors to promote education on behalf of her foundation and as the ambassador for Global Citizen and the Global Partnership for Education, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today.

“met the bravest, most humble kids and young women this week! I can’t wait to share more!” she shared in an Instagram post of the trip.

And who could forget the moment when pop royalty and real royalty met? Prince Harry joined Rihanna on World AIDS Day in her native Barbados to make a statement on HIV. The two did an HIV finger-prick test “to show how easy it is to be tested for HIV,” Kensington Palace announced.

Each year, Harvard University presents the award to a prominent public-spirited leader. She joins past honorees James Earl Jones and tennis player Arthur Ashe.

Rihanna will be presented with the award at 4 p.m. at the Sanders Theatre on Feb. 28.