Known for her fashion, her hit songs (like “We Found Love,” “Love on the Brain”), and her elusive relationship with fellow artist Drake, Rihanna has surely made a name for herself in the world of popular culture. However, a lesser-known part of her personality is her charitable side, which Harvard University has taken notice of.
On Tuesday, February 28th, Robyn Rihanna Fenty will be officially named Harvard University’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year. She will receive the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award at a ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Sanders Theatre. According to the Harvard Gazette, tickets are free for Harvard students, but there is a limited amount and they must be picked up from the theatre on the day of the event. There is also a limit of two tickets per student.
Although this decision may come as a surprise, since a pop culture icon does not seem like a typical candidate for such an award, S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director, believes she is very deserving. He spoke to the Harvard Gazette about two of her main accomplishments, which are the creation of 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,” and the founding of the nonprofit called “the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries.” Counter also referenced her support of “the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides 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.”
Other, past recipients include an impressive list of people: Nobel Peace Prize Committee chairman Thorbjørn Ragland, various U.N. Secretaries, Malala Yousafzai, anti-child-labor spokesman Kailash Satyarthi, and former Health and Human Services Director Louis W. Sullivan, among others.