mtvU named comedian John Oliver and nurse Kaci Hickox its 2014 “Man and Woman of the Year” on Tuesday.
The two Emmy-winner and the healthcare worker will be honored on-air and online segments for their dedication in 2014 to “challenge the status quo, inspire debate, and create positive change.”
Hickox is a Doctors With Out Borders volunteer worker who fought two different medical battles at home and abroad. In Sierra Leone she combated the spread of Ebola. When she returned to the U.S. she was placed under a questionable mandatory quarantine and thus had a new fight against misinformation surrounding the spread of the disease.
She went on to be honored by the White House for “her service and commitment” and was instrumental in a change in New York’s mandatory quarantine policy, which would eventually allow healthcare workers returning from Africa to remain isolated in their homes.
Oliver made his mark in 2014 after transitioning from a supporting role on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with John Stewart to his own HBO comedic news series, “Last Week Tonight.” It offers a satirical but often pointed look at news issues like net neutrality and student loans, which are important to younger viewers but frequently ignored by other outlets.
He has tackled everything from Miss America to Ugandan intolerance of the LGBT community on the first season of his show and famously went on a 13-minute rant against the FCC. It has been viewed over 7 million times on YouTube and directed viewers toward the FCC’s website where over 45,000 people would eventually make their voices heard.
“Kaci Hickox and John Oliver are two voices that stand as an example of strength for today’s college students. They’re each fighting for important issues and using reason as their weapon,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “Kaci is emblematic of so many young civil servants around the world committed to helping others while remaining true to themselves. mtvU is proud to honor her, as well as John Oliver, who, in a world of vacuous and disposable commentary, is going deeper and getting results.”
In previous years, mtvU’s “Man and Woman of the Year” honors went to Pope Francis and Lorde (2013) and musician Frank Ocean and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (2012.)
The MTV Networks Music & Logo Group owned network is available on over 750 college campuses and broadcast to nearly 9 million U.S. college students nation wide.