CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — “So I finally made it to Harvard.”
She had fun with it, as always. But Robyn Fenty — far better known as mega-music star “Rihanna” — didn’t make it to Harvard with her voice. She made it with her heart.
“Her presence is able to inspire so many people from all around the world to be who they are and to appreciate where they come from,” Harvard junior Cengiz Cemaloglu said.
And for Rihanna, that’s Barbados, where she opened a state-of-the-art cancer diagnosis and treatment center in the name of her late grandmother — who taught her humility.
“My grandmother always used to say ‘If you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share,’ ” she said.
Indeed, Rihanna was honored Tuesday as Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” for her charitable efforts, which began at age 18 with her “Believe Foundation” to help terminally ill kids.
“I’m incredibly humbled by this, to be acknowledged at this magnitude for something in truth I’ve never wanted credit for,” Rihanna said.
Her celebrity is certainly overwhelming. Just a polite kiss made the Harvard dean a bit dizzy.
But way deeper, students told us that Rihanna had used her “star power” to take her health care and scholarship initiatives global.
“And I think what Rihanna does is that she brings that discussion outside of America. She says ‘Hey, let’s look at what’s happening in the rest of the world,” Harvard junior Jasmine Chia said.
Her simple advice to students: Start small.
“Our mission is to impact as many lives as possible. But it starts with just one, just one,” Rihanna told the crowd.
And then don’t expect anything in return.
“To me, that is a humanitarian,” Rihanna said.