Reba McEntire is among 12 business, civic and cultural leaders chosen to represent the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans class of 2018.
For more than 70 years, the honor has been given to public figures who have succeeded both professionally and personally – despite facing adversity – and who have demonstrated commitment to higher education and charitable efforts.
According to the Association, McEntire's career and life story make her an excellent candidate for the award. After growing up on her family's cattle ranch in Oklahoma, she worked her way through college before pursuing her dream as a country singer. McEntire struggled early on, and in 1991 a plane crash that claimed the lives of seven members of her band, as well as her tour manager, nearly derailed her career. Nonetheless, she went on to become a household name in music, television, film, theater and retail.
McEntire is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, the only solo female in country history to score a Number One hit in four-straight decades, a Grammy winner and actress, and the creator of multiple fashion lines.
The Horatio Alger Association awards scholarships to promising high school students who have also experienced hardship, and since 1984 has given out more than $125 million to students in need – all of which is raised by Association members and supporters.
"I always say that you need three things to succeed in life: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone," McEntire said in a statement. "These qualities have served me well in every part of my life, and I have no doubt my fellow honorees would agree. I am honored to be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association, and I can't wait to meet our 2018 Scholars and help them in any way I can to reach their own dreams.”
McEntire and the rest of the class of 2018 will be formally inducted during an event in Washington, D.C., in April.