via press release:



New York, NY (December 9, 2014) – mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, today named nurse Kaci Hickox and comedian John Oliver as its “Woman and Man of the Year” for their groundbreaking work in 2014 to challenge the status quo, inspire reasoned debate and create positive change.  A volunteer nurse with Doctors Without Borders, Hickox fought the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and battled misinformation by challenging a mandatory quarantine order upon her return to the United States.  Emmy-Award winner Oliver premiered his new series, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” which took a deep, satirical and emotionally engaging look at highly complex issues – and inspired his audience to care about seemingly dry subjects such as net neutrality and nutritional supplements.


Every year, mtvU awards its “Woman and Man of the Year” recognition to pioneering leaders in the worlds of music, activism, pop culture and politics.  Beginning today, mtvU will highlight Hickox and Oliver for millions of students in the United States through tribute segments on-air and online, which can be viewed now on


“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 Olver, who, in a world of vacuous and disposable commentary, is going deeper and getting results.”


Kaci Hickox: mtvU Woman of the Year

An accomplished nurse with degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and Johns Hopkins, Kaci Hickox has spent much of the last decade working with Doctor Without Borders in impoverished areas of Burma, Sudan and Nigeria.  She traveled to Sierra Leone in 2014 to help fight the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak that has killed thousands in Africa.


Upon her return to the United States, Hickox was forced into quarantine in an isolation tent by authorities in New Jersey.  The move was questioned by many scientists and public health experts who deemed it not only unnecessary from a safety perspective, but also misleading about how the deadly disease actually spreads.  She subsequently refused to submit to quarantine in her native Maine.  Hickox was widely praised for fighting for rationality over emotion in politics, and helping educate the American public about how Ebola spreads.


At the time, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of Hickox’s fight against Ebola that, “her service and commitment to this cause is something that should be honored and respected, and I don’t think we do that by making her live in a tent for two or three days.”


Ultimately, New York changed its mandatory quarantine to allow healthcare workers returning from Africa to remain in their homes and, eventually, a Maine judge ruled in Hickox’s favor, proving she did not post a health threat to others.


John Oliver: mtvU Man of the Year

John Oliver is an Emmy and Writer’s Guild Award winning writer and comedian who emerged in his native U.K. as a political stand-up, before breaking through stateside in 2006 as a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” In 2014, Oliver struck out on his own with the premiere of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO.


With “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver has taken an unexpected approach, eschewing quick, social media-ready segments to go in-depth on underreported issues and current events, from the oppression of gays in Uganda, to state lotteries, to the Miss America scholarship, gender pay equality, and his now famous segment on net neutrality.  In a 13-minute rant on the controversial internet access principle, Oliver urged his fans to visit the FCC website and make their voice known.  By the following morning, the FCC’s website’s commenting system had crashed under the weight of more than 45,000 user comments, according to The Washington Post. The clip has been viewed more than 7 million times on YouTube.  Oliver continues to push the envelope and pull apart complicated issues with his fresh, fiery and funny take on systemic injustices often ignored.


mtvU’s 2013 “Man and Woman of the Year” were Pope Francis and Lorde, while the network honored Frank Ocean and Malala Yousafzai in 2012. Previous recipients of the “People of the Year” honor include “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and hip hop artist Nicki Minaj.


For more information or to view the mtvU 2014 “Woman and Man of the Year,” head to


About mtvU

Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses and via top cable distributors in 700 college communities nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. college students – making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can’t be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with hundreds of events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit



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