The Grammy-winning singer accepted Harvard’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award on Tuesday, and shared her desire to get a college degree.
“You don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody,” she said during a speech at the university. “You don’t gotta be famous. You don’t even have to be college-educated. I mean, I wish I was … especially today.”
As the crowd laughed, the 29-year-old declared, “It’s true, I might come back.”
Rihanna’s Humanitarian of the Year Award is based on of her involvement with 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.
She also created the Clara Lionel Foundation scholarship program — named for her grandmother who died from cancer — for students from the Caribbean who attend college in the US.
Rihanna also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, providing children with access to education in more than 60 developing countries.
“When I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember watching TV and I would see these commercials and I was watching other children suffer in other parts of the world,” she said on Tuesday. “You know? The commercials where you could give 25 cents and save a child’s life. I would think to myself … I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all of the kids in Africa and I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up and get rich, I’m going to save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I’d be in the position to do that when I was a teenager.”