The popular singer Rihanna has been named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year, and will come to campus to accept the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award at a ceremony next Tuesday (Feb. 28).
“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 S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation’s director.
“She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, 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.”
An international musical phenomenon, the Barbados-born singer, actress, and songwriter — whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty — has sold more than 200 million records.
The Harvard Foundation recognizes prominent public-spirited leaders each year in honor of the late Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes. Past honorees include physician-statistician Hans Rosling; actor James Earl Jones; Nobel Peace Prize Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland; U.N. Secretaries General Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar; gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai; anti-child-labor spokesman Kailash Satyarthi; tennis player and activist Arthur Ashe; former Health and Human Services Director Louis W. Sullivan; and farmworker rights advocate Dolores Huerta.
The award will be presented at 4 p.m. at Sanders Theatre on Feb. 28. Admission is free, however, tickets are required and can be picked up at Sanders Theatre beginning at noon the day of the performance. A Harvard ID is required and tickets are limited to two per person. In-person distribution only and the tickets are valid until 3:45 p.m.