Rena Smith – Jarrett

Class ’76, National Chair & Chair of the Board of Directors

Duties of the National Chair


  • Preside over all Board meetings of the Corporation.
  • Presiding over the Annual Conference of the Corporation.
  • Countersign all the Corporation’s checks in conjunction with the Chairperson of Finance prior to the disbursement of any Corporate funds.


Rena, is a servant leader who serves with honesty, accountability, and transparency. A 1976 graduate of Ricks Institute and the National Chair of the Board of RIAA-USA, Inc. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Ricks Institute, Virginia, Liberia.

Brief Bio

Rena holds a BBA from the University of Liberia and an MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. Rena is a recent retiree of the World Bank where she worked for 23 years in Budget/Financing with specialty in Procurement. She loves to sing and is a founding member of the iconic University of Liberia Alumni Chorus.


Class ’83, Vice-National Chair & Member of the Board of Directors

Duties of the Vice-National Chair


    • Assist and work closely with the National Chairman in carrying out the executive duties of the Corporation.
    • Perform all duties of the National Chairman in his/her absence or in case of any situation of incapacitation


    Raphael Koikoi is a member of the Ricks Institute Class of 1983 (Floaters) who spent most of his formative years at Ricks Institute. He has served RIAA, USA Inc in various capacities, both on the local and national levels. Koikoi, an advocate for the marginalized, serves as a United Methodist Clergy-person.

    Brief Bio

    He believes that those given opportunities should be part of the work of creating opportunities for others. Koikoi enjoys travel, golf, cycling, and photography.

    Emmanuel R. A. Paulus

    Class ’84, Past National Chairman & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio

    Deacon E. R. A. Paulus was elected National Chairman at the RIAA New Jersey 2016 Convention. Deacon Paulus served as National Vice Chairman under Mr. Dixon and had also served as National Religious Chairman and President of the New England Chapter for many years with many achievements. As National Chairman, Deacon Paulus launched the highest funded project in the history of the Association: “Project Renovate Ricks”. This project gave the W.V.S. Tubman Administrative Building a general and specific face lift which included painting, renovating classrooms and changing all the windows to modern styled windows at the cost of $50,000; the project was 95% completed under his leadership. The Science lab was also renovated by the class of 1976 and the gate project was started under Deacon Paulus’ Chairmanship.

    Mietta Smallwood

    Class ’76, Chair of Records & Correspondence & Member of the Board of Directors

    Duties of the Chairperson of Records and Correspondence


    • Preside over the Records and Correspondence Committee.
    • The custodian of all official records of the Corporation.
    • Keep all Corporation document in a confidential manner.
    • Keep and distribute all official records of the Corporation proceedings, including agendas and minutes.
    • Responsible for keeping records of attendance at all Board meetings.
    • Coordinate all official correspondences of the Corporation.
    • Implement mechanisms for obtaining and retaining minutes of all Local Chapter meetings, as well as all meetings of the various Standing Committees either by having Records and Correspondences Committee liaisons on these committees, or by making other arrangements with the respective leaderships of the committees.
    • Responsible for ensuring a continuous update of all alumni membership contact data.


    Mietta Smallwood serves as RIAA USA Chairman of Records.  With a MS in Public Health Education and fulfilling careers in both business and health, she is a detail-oriented lover of humanity who champions goodwill and good health for all.

    Brief Bio

    Mietta is a devoted and proud mother of three wonderful adult children and an amazing son-in-law. Mietta is an ardent sports fan who prefers watching a game over a movie. This love of sports was developed many moons ago while at Ricks. She cherishes memories of her childhood friendships, and looks forward to creating many more through the work of the alumni association.


    Class ’80, Chair of Financial Affairs & Member of the Board of Directors

    Duties of the Chairperson of Finance


    • Preside over all Finance Committees. This committee shall be responsible for the receipt, tracking and disbursement of all funds and/or solicitations, including funds raised by the Local Chapters.
    • Ensure that all funds of the Corporation are deposited in a bank account bearing only the Corporation’s name. Under no circumstances should the Chairperson of Finance co-mingle the Corporation’s funds with his/her personal funds.
    • Countersign, along with the National Chairman, all checks issued by the Corporation on the corporate account.
    • Prepare and present to the Annual Conference a report showing all receipts and disbursements of the past year and all potential receipts and disbursements for the coming year.
    • Shall periodically make available reports to members of the Corporation clearly setting forth the financial status of the Corporation.
    • Chair all investment committees and appropriately invest the funds of the Corporation to obtain at least a market profit consistent with the decision of the investment committee.


    Mary Evonne Weeks serves as Sales Executive for Verizon enterprise solutions with Fortune 100 Global accounts in Southeast Michigan.   Evonne began her career with MCI Communications, and has held a variety of positions in Sales, Business Operations, and Service.

    Brief Bio

    She serves as a Member of the Board for the Ricks Institute Alumni Association, where they provide assistance for kids’ education in Liberia, West Africa. She is currently serving as the Chairman of the Trustee Board of New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Pontiac. She serves as Treasurer of the Liberian Association of Michigan. She is married to Tim Weeks, and they are proud parents of two Harvard graduates.


    Class ’79, Chair of Legal Affairs & Member of the Board of Directors

    Duties of the Chairperson of Legal Affairs


    • Function as the Chief Legal Officer of the Corporation.
    • Responsible for maintaining the Incorporation Status and 501(C) 3 status of the Corporation.
    • Responsible for advice regarding interpreting and enforcing the Constitution and By-laws of the Corporation.
    • Review all Election processes and maintain its compliance.
    • Appropriately review all legal issues facing the Corporation and obtain legal assistance and/or advice when necessary.
    • Provide routine updates of Incorporation and non-profit changes that may affect the Corporation.
    • Preside over all votes at the Annual Conference for compliance.


    Brief Bio


    Rev. Emmett Goodridge

    Class ’75, President of New England Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio


    George Brown

    Class ’76, President of New York Metropolitan Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio


    Spencer Kanagie Clarke

    Class ’67, President of DC Metropolitan Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Born in Millsburg Liberia, he is among our oldest members from the Dragon Kingdom. Grand Dragon Clarke attended Ricks Institute in 1960 and graduated from the University of Liberia in 1971 with a BA degree in Sociology.  

    Brief Bio

    Boy Spence, Big Daddy Scoodoes are some of the nicknames he acquired along the way from schoolmates and aquaintences. He joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs and later became the Assistant Superintendent for Montserrado County. Mr. Clarke represented Liberia in many international forums across the world including South Korea, India and Ethiopia. In 1988, he moved to the private sector through Plan International as Assistant Field Director working in Freetown and Senegal. Him and his family migrated to USA in 1995 where he began working with the Center for the Handicap (CHI) in Maryland. His 45 years of marriage has been blessed with 4 sons and 4 grandchildren.

    Edwina Bropleh – Barchue

    Class ’80, President of Southwest Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio


    Benjamin Smallwood

    Class ’72, President of Georgia Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio


    Merline Morris

    Class ’78, President of Carolinas Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Merline attended Ricks from 1971-1978. While at Ricks she was engaged in many of the religious and sporting activities on campus.  She was baptized in the creek in the Town on Ricks, and became a member of Washington Chapel Baptist church.  

    Brief Bio

    She received 3 leadership awards while serving as a Girls Auxilary counselor at the Baptist Youth camp. After graduating from the TNIMA School of Nursing, she volunteered as a Nurse at the Ricks campus clinic. Filling this position, being introduced and appreciated by the students and staff was one of Merline’s happiest moments. After several months, she took up assignment in Nimba County at the G.W Harley hospital in Sanniquellie for 2 years. Upon completing her assignment in Nimba, she returned to her alma mater Ricks Institute and became a full time Nurse until she traveled to the United States in 1985. She is blessed with 2 boys. Ms. Morris is the president of the RIAA’s Carolina chapter.



    Class ’79 (Trotters), President, Midwest Chapter & Member of the Board of Directors

    Brief Bio
    I am a Clinical Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor. MA. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I strive to help people understand that mental illness is not a stigma, but an illness like all other. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can function at your full capacity.
    I am a proud mother of 2 young men. My hobbies are music, reading and traveling.


    Dr. Marshalita Sims Peterson

    Dr. Marshalita Sims Peterson is a consultant/facilitator, researcher and presenter committed to innovative and effective processes of engagement to enhance organizational productivity across a variety of industries. 

    Brief Bio

     As founder of M.S. Peterson Consulting & Research, LLC, Dr. Peterson has worked with public and private sectors in organizational processes in support of goal-setting and   practices involving implementation and enhancement. She is dedicated to enhancing student achievement through effective academic programming and involvement of stakeholders of the immediate community as well as the community at large. She is an advocate for ensuring that students reach their full potential.  Dr. Peterson has presented internationally on various education topics including enhancing the teaching/learning process, curriculum design/implementation, pedagogical constructs, academic programming, student success, school improvement, educator support systems, and school/parent/community partnerships.

    Dr. Peterson is married to Dr. Alan Peterson, Sr. and resides in Georgia (USA).  They are the proud parents of two adult children and grandparents of five.  Dr. Peterson has been a member of the Board of Directors of Go Ye Ministries Liberia USA, Inc. for two years.