NEW YORK • Rihanna may be best known as an R&B superstar, but on Wednesday, she was named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year for her charity work.
The 29-year-old singer from Barbados will be given the award in person on campus next Tuesday, the university announced.
"Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art centre for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados," Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter said.
The singer has also set up a scholarship programme, named after her grandparents, for Caribbean students studying in the United States, and supports efforts to give girls better access to education in the developing world.
"It is for these philanthropic initiatives and other acts of compassionate sharing that the students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation chose to honour Rihanna with the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award," Mr Counter said.
The singer joins past recipients such as former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, and singer Lionel Richie.