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De Vito Wins Silver Stirrup Award

July 10, 2017


Previous Kansas Secretary of Commerce Antonio Soave, left, and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, right, present Dr. Raffaele De Vito with the Silver Stirrup Award.

Dr. Raffaele De Vito, professor emeritus, was honored with the Silver Stirrup Award for Meritorious Service at the 45th Annual Team Kansas awards banquet June 6, 2017, at Emporia State University.

The Silver Stirrup Award recognizes De Vito’s spirit of leadership and dedication for his service on the Kansas International Trade Coordinating Council, where he served as chair for 25 years, and is still chair emeritus. KITCC is an independent council that operates with the facilitating assistance of the Kansas Department of Commerce. The council provides a forum for the exchange of ideas among international business professionals throughout the state and identifies and recognizes for-profit Kansas corporations that excel in international business through the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award.

De Vito was a founding member of the KITCC (along with Harland Priddle, then Secretary of Agriculture), which started in 1985 stemming from a meeting at Emporia State University. The premise of the meeting was to get government agencies and businesses together more often.

“Remember, there was no Internet, no fax machines, only telephones,” said De Vito. “But even then, companies were doing international trade. Truly, if you have a vision and you can communicate with others that have a similar vision, it’s amazing how many people will volunteer. KITCC has been 30 years of people saying ‘let’s work together.’ It was a commitment — and it has always been a team effort.”

Being on KITCC allowed De Vito to grow internationally and use his knowledge and experience in the classroom.

“It’s amazing how many people will work on something they believe in. Having the opportunity to interact with more than 100 companies around the state and bring those stories back to the classroom is very fulfilling. What else could you ask for as faculty? It’s been a win-win,” said De Vito.

Dr. Ed Bashaw, dean of the School of Business at ESU, shared De Vito’s impact on our state.

“Dr. De Vito’s work with KITCC and international trade issues has been significant­ — not only for the ESU School of Business but for the state of Kansas,” says Dr. Bashaw. “Many businesses have been helped and honored, including Emporia’s own Vektek and Glendo Corporation, for the Exporter of the Year Award.”

De Vito began his career at Emporia State in 1982 after completing his master’s degree in business administration from Adelphi University in New York, his Chinese language certification from Yale University (U.S. Air Force), and his doctorate from Northeastern University in Boston. De Vito was professor of management for the School of Business at Emporia State, retiring in 2016 after 34 years with the university. His wife, Myrna Cornett-De Vito, is also an ESU professor emerita, having retired a few years earlier.


History of the Silver Stirrup Award:

The Silver Stirrup award is given in honor of one of Kansas’ most distinguished citizens, Samuel J. Crawford. The first award was given out in 1974 to then Governor Robert Docking. To see past honorees, go to

A Union cavalry commander during the Civil War, Crawford was elected the third Governor of Kansas in 1864, and was the first Governor to be re-elected. After retiring from public and military life, he devoted his time to farming and the practice of law.

Samuel Crawford will be long remembered as one of Kansas’ most zealous and dedicated leaders, both on the battlefield and in public office. It is in this spirit of leadership and dedication that the Silver Stirrup award is presented by Team Kansas to one of its outstanding troopers.


About Team Kansas:

Team Kansas is a group of private business leaders, economic development professionals, and state officials who work to attract companies, investment, and jobs to Kansas. Team Kansas partner’s with the Kansas Department of Commerce and the state of Kansas to share their state’s story with businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Team Kansas began as the Kansas Cavalry in 1973 after Gov. Robert Docking and a delegation of Kansas business leaders visited Japan. Initially, the organization had between 50 and 75 members.

Since then, the organization has continued to grow and change to meet current challenges. In 2013, the organization transitioned from the Cavalry to Team Kansas to reflect its current role as an economic development support group.

To read more about Team Kansas



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