Published 05/16/16

The John H. Chafee Center for international business receives presidential award


CONTACT:      Elizabeth O’Neil, AVP  University Relations 401.232.6121

SMITHFIELD, RI — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today presented John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University   with the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The President’s “E” Award is the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Accepting the award was Chafee Center Director Raymond Fogarty, a member of Bryant’s Class of 1979.

The Chafee Center has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with the Chafee Center’s dedication to helping businesses understand the export process and enter new international markets,” said Secretary Pritzker in her congratulatory letter announcing the Chafee Center’s selection. “The organization’s creative use of student skills to support market research was also particularly notable. The Chafee Center’s achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs.”

The John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University is named for the late Rhode Island senator, a longtime advocate of international trade and of introducing new markets to our nation’s businesses. The Center, opened in 1988, was born out of a Small Business Administration task force and a core of business experts assembled in 1987.  

Today, the Chafee Center— in partnership with the State of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Bryant University — provides comprehensive international trade services for businesses to expand into international markets. Through global market research, corporate training, strategic consulting, and the coordination of trade events, the Chafee Center helps local, regional, and national companies get their products and services to more customers in more places around the world.

Additionally, the Chafee Center is able to leverage its unique position within Bryant University to increase its service offerings. Chafee Center staff work closely with Bryant faculty and students in the International Business, Global Supply Chain Management, and MBA Graduate School programs to deliver additional independent global research and studies to local companies.     

Bryant University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn M. Sulmasy, J.D., LL.M, said, “The work the Chafee Center does exemplifies Bryant University’s expertise in international business and innovative education, as well as its skill at integrating classroom learning with real-world experience in helping local businesses succeed in the global marketplace. This award recognizes a body of work that has had substantial impact on the field of international trade.”

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order, reviving the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America's exporters.  A second level of the award is the “E Star” Award, authorized by the Secretary of Commerce in 1969, recognizes previous “E” Award winners for continued significant contributions to U.S. export expansion. The Chafee Center received the President’s “E” award in 2000. 

Today, Secretary Pritzker honored 123 U.S. companies with the President’s “E” Award for their outstanding work to reduce barriers to foreign markets and to open the door to more trade around the world.

In 2015, U.S. exports totaled $2.23 trillion, accounting for nearly 13 percent of U.S. GDP. Nationally, exports contributed to the U.S. economy, supporting an estimated 11.5 million jobs.

The Chafee Center, in partnership with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, is the International Trade Office for the State of Rhode Island and includes the World Trade Center Rhode Island and the RI Export Assistance Center. Comprehensive programs and services to foster international trade and help businesses expand into global markets that the Center provides include:

  • International Training Programs
  • Global Market Research
  • Strategic Business Development Consulting
  • Organized Foreign Trade Missions and Trade Events
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Matchmaking Programs
  • STEP Grant Awardee (State Trade Expansion Program)

More than 600 business professionals participate in the Center’s annual World Trade Day, one of the largest events of its kind in the country. The Center was also instrumental in creating Rhode Island’s first Global Supply Chain Summit.

Noting that exports have contributed to one-third of economic growth nationwide since 2009, Fogarty said that from 2011 to 2015 the Chafee Center led and organized a dozen trade missions in 11 countries with results that included assisting 58 businesses and organizations, 367 projected jobs created, $17 million to $18 million in potential sales, and at least $8 million in actual sales. 

“We are honored to have the Chafee Center’s work recognized for this exceptional achievement during the 54 th annual “E” Awards presentation,” said Fogarty. “This award highlights the Chafee Center’s expertise in international business as well as Bryant University’s unique integration of the classroom and the business world in developing the global perspective critical to the success of the next generation of business leaders.”

The Chafee Center works closely with the University’s faculty to partner with regional firms that want to expand globally. As part of senior year practicums in the International Business, Global Supply Chain Management, and MBA Graduate School programs, students work in teams — with guidance from international trade professionals from the Chafee Center — as consultants to help businesses with aspects of their international strategies, gaining the direct experience of applying theories to real-world situations.

Dean of the College of Business Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., who designed the International Business capstone experience, said, "The practicum is a win-win situation because the students get valuable experience and the employers get to see what they would bring to the table."

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Awards through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, with offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries.  Criteria for the award is based on four years of successive export growth and case studies which demonstrate valuable support to exporters resulting in increased exports for the company’s clients.   

For more information about the “E” Awards and the benefits of exporting, visit .

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has approximately 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students from 35 states and 85 countries. Bryant University is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s . Visit