UToledo Leaders Receive ‘20 Under 40’ Recognition

November 6, 2020 | UToday, Alumni, Student Affairs, Engineering
By Kirk Baird

A trio of University of Toledo faculty and staff were named to the “20 Under 40” list, an annual recognition of 20 distinguished community leaders from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan who are younger than 40 years old.

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, UToledo’s vice president for student affairs and vice provost; Dr. Raghav Khanna, assistant professor in the College of Engineering; and Donovan Nichols, assistant dean for student involvement and leadership, were among the honorees.

Phillip Flapp Cockrell


“I share this honor with UToledo,” Cockrell said. “I am so grateful to UToledo for allowing me to do my life’s work. Student safety, well-being and success are part of my DNA; therefore, I consider myself blessed to work with such amazing students and professionals.”

Khanna added that the award, with its ties to the city of Toledo, carries a personal significance.

“Over the past 10-12 years this region has been through a lot with the recession and has come roaring back to life,” he said. “I’ve had some challenges in my career and I’m sort of rebuilding, so to speak, so to get that recognition from a city that knows how to rebuild itself is very meaningful. It means a lot for me, personally, and for my family and for my fellow faculty members.”

Dr. Raghav Khanna


“I am humbled to be on a list with such talented and service-minded Toledoans,” Nichols said. “I have received a new burst of energy from receiving this award as it exhibits the value of my life’s work. While I am proud of my life accomplishments, I definitely didn’t do it alone. I have been surrounded by incredible people who care deeply about making a difference in the world.”

Begun in 1996, the 20 Under 40 Award is a leadership recognition program that begins each spring with a call for nominations for potential candidates, followed by a profile submission from as many as 200 candidates. The 20 Under 40 selections are made by an independent panel of judges, all of whom are past honorees and community leaders.

Donovan Nichols


In addition to honoring the recipients, the program is intended to motivate young people throughout the area to become community leaders.

The 20 Under 40 class of 2020 also includes four UToledo alumni: Benjamin Batey, who received his master’s degree in public health; Timothy Effler and Katherine Hunt Thomas, both of whom received their juris doctors; and Roger Kuns, who has two business degrees from the University.

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