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Rihanna’s Harvard honor

March 1, 2017 GMT

Rihanna’s been to her share of award ceremonies before, but unlike, say, the VMAs, no one was warbling from a trapeze or dancing in balloons. The Grammy winner took to the stage at the Sanders Theatre yesterday to accept Harvard’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year award, and joked, “So I made it to Harvard. Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good.”

The university said it chose Rihanna for her involvement in a number of charitable causes — she built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer in her home nation of Barbados.

Rihanna received a standing ovation as she accepted the award, natch.

The “Diamond” singer explained that the desire to help people started when she was a young girl watching commercials about how a quarter could help save a child’s life. “I would think to myself, ‘I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa.’ And I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up and I get rich, I’m gonna save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I would be in a position to do that by the time I was a teenager,” the 29-year-old laughed.

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Rihanna also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, providing children with access to education in developing countries, and created the Clara Lionel Foundation scholarship program for students from the Caribbean who attend college in the U.S.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.