Harvard University Will Recognize Rihanna’s Work, But This Has Nothing To Do With Her Music

A heart of gold is headed to the Ivy League.

Rihanna is not shy about being flashy (remember her diamond-encrusted flask accessory at the Grammys?), but one thing the singer doesn't boast about is her charitable work, work, work, work, work. Still, others have taken notice and now she's receiving a coveted honor from one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the country.

Harvard University will honor Rihanna with the Humanitarian of the Year Award, which she'll accept during a ceremony on the university's campus on February 28.

The Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award is given "to an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of our lives and have inspired us to greater heights," as the university's website states.

In her native Barbados, RiRi supported the building 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.

"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," said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation.

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The multiplatinum-selling singer, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen project, which is "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," Counter added.

In December, Rihanna and Prince Harry celebrated Barbados' 50th anniversary of independence by setting a positive example and getting tested for HIV on World AIDS Day. Earlier last year she helped make a wish come true for a young fan named Megan, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in July, nearly three months after meeting "her favorite singer."  

Past honorees of the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award include gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai; tennis player and activist Arthur Ashe; and farmworkers rights advocate Dolores Huerta, just to name a few.

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Cover image: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

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