As if Rihanna hasn’t contributed enough to the greater good of humanity with more than a decade’s worth of irresistible pop bangers, it’s her work outside the recording booth that’s had the biggest impact.
Every year, Harvard University selects a leader in public life who’s dedicated themselves to service by honoring them with the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award. On Thursday, Rihanna was named the 2017 honoree for her charitable work promoting healthcare and education in the Caribbean, joining the ranks of actors James Earl Jones and Sharon Stone, as well as former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and activist Malala Yousafzai.
“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,” the Harvard Foundation’s director, S. Allen Counter said in a statement.
In addition to her work in the healthcare sector, the “Love on the Brain” singer is being recognized for creating the Clara Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program, a foundation named after her grandparents that supports Caribbean students attending to college in the U.S. The university also notes Rihanna’s engagement with the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which aims to ensure children in developing nations have access to an education. Just last year, she headlined the organization’s festival in New York, drawing thousands to Central Park in the name of ending poverty worldwide.
Those lucky enough to live in the Boston area are welcome to witness Rihanna’s greatness in person when she’s formally presented with the award at Sanders Theatre on Feb. 28. Tickets are free, but bejeweled flasks will not be provided.