The Renaissance man himself, Lionel Ritchie, will be honored by Harvard University on Monday.
The pop singer-songwriter is set to receive the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award, an annual prize for philanthropic work bestowed by the Harvard Foundation. Ritchie will be recognized for co-writing “We Are the World,” his 1985 benefit song for hunger victims in Africa and rerecorded in 2010 for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti, as well as for his longtime advocacy of breast cancer research.
“The students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation are pleased to present the 2011 Humanitarian Award to Mr. Lionel Richie in memory of the late Reverend Peter J. Gomes,” said Dr. S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation, in a statement. “Richie is one of our nation’s most creative musical artists who has inspired many through his artistic and philanthropic endeavors.”
Ritchie joins the ranks of past Gomes Award winners Chesley Sullenberger, Sharon Stone and James Earl Jones.