College Students’ Persons of the Year: Robert Gates and Nicki Minaj

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What’s more surprising: that college students didn’t pick a reality TV star or that they know who Robert Gates is?

NewsFeed is, of course, kidding because we love. But we’re not kidding that MTV’s college network, mtvU, has named the Defense Secretary its Man of the Year for playing a major part in overturning the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in addition to the slightly nefarious charge of changing the establishment from within.

(See coverage of TIME’s Person of the Year, Mark Zuckerberg.)

A statement on MTV’s website noted that the 67-year-old was a “beacon of reason in a sea of polarizing soundbytes,” and heralded his supporting of the troops. “He inherited two wars that have deeply divided college students nationwide, but Secretary Gates and the college audience have always been in lock step on a critical principal: Doing what’s best for our troops and a new generation of veterans.”

Gates does indeed typify the bipartisanship that is now firmly on the political agenda in light of the recent midterms as well as the significant achievements made this week by President Obama’s administration. Gates is a Republican originally brought in by previous President George W. Bush but has remained an integral part of Obama’s cabinet.

(See pictures of Obama’s college years.)

MTV also named its Woman of the Year and went with the rapper Nicki Minaj for speaking out against homophobia and sexism as well as helping to fight breast cancer. “Trinidad-born Minaj put a great big fabulous pink wig on in 2010,” wrote MTV. “She broke boundaries, molds and records … She was a force to be reckoned with.”

Congratulations to them both and we can’t wait to see them accept their awards together, before dancing the night away (there is going to be a party, and we are invited, right?)

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