Gloria Estefan is about to get the honor of her life

Gloria Estefan Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan, A.B. '78, D.M.U. '93

Gloria Estefan is a recipient of the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors. The Miami singer/songwriter will be joined at a 40th anniversary ceremony by fellow honorees Norman Lear, Lionel Richie, Carmen de Lavallade and LL Cool J on Dec. 3, 2017.

Miami is set to represent at Washington’s glittering 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December when singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan becomes the latest hometown icon to receive the prestigious award and the first Cuban American to earn the distinction.

Estefan’s Kennedy Center Honors recognition, for lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — be it in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures or television — is only the fourth for a Latina artist. Chita Rivera was the first in 2002, followed by Rita Moreno (2015) and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich (2016). Among men, Spanish opera star Plácido Domingo, in 2000, and Mexican-American rock guitarist Carlos Santana, in 2013, received the honor.

Estefan, 59, is the first of these women, or men, to base her entire career from Miami.

Estefan, the daughter of a Bay of Pigs veteran who served in Vietnam, has won seven Grammys, an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, a National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress and, most recently in 2015, President Barack Obama presented Estefan and her husband, Emilio, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.