Elton John Named Harvard Humanitarian of the Year

English singer, composer, and activist Elton H. John will receive the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year award, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations announced Tuesday morning.

Known for his award-winning work in the music industry—including hits like “Rocket Man” and “Tiny Dancer”—John will be recognized for his work as founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Since its inception in 1992, the foundation has raised more than $385 million to fund prevention and treatment efforts of HIV/AIDS and advocate for those affected.

This isn't the first time John has been lauded for his charity: Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1998, and the Rockefeller Foundation gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

John was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1992, and his numerous other accolades include five Grammys, a Golden Globe, a Tony, and an Academy Award.

“Accepting an award like this is both gratifying and tremendously humbling," John wrote in a press release. "I am grateful to Harvard University and the Harvard Foundation for acknowledging my philanthropic work toward ending HIV/AIDS. It's an honor to share this recognition with such illustrious past recipients.”


John joins a dazzling collection of previous Humanitarian Award recipients including Malala Yousafzai, Hans Rosling, and, most recently, Rihanna. He will be honored on Nov. 6 with a ceremony in Sanders Theatre. Tickets will become available for in-person pickup starting on Nov. 2.


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