25/02/2017 10:09 AM AEDT | Updated 25/02/2017 10:38 AM AEDT

Rihanna Named Harvard University's 2017 Humanitarian Of the Year

The singer is in illustrious company.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Singer Rihanna will receive a major humanitarian award.

Rihanna can add global humanitarian luminary to her list of accomplishments after the Grammy winner was named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year.

The US Ivy League university each year selects a leader in public life who's dedicated themselves to service by honouring them with the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award.

In 2017, the big gong is going to the Barbados-born singer for her work on a number of life-changing programs.

"Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados," S. Allen Counter, the Harvard Foundation's director, said on the university's website.

"In 2012, she founded the nonprofit the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program [named for her grandparents] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, which provides 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. "

Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, joins an illustrious list of previous winners including physician-statistician Hans Rosling, actor James Earl Jones and U.N. Secretaries General Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Rihanna is due to be presented with the award at Harvard next week.