by Anthony Carter
photography by Katie Pyne
Ann Quay Davis sits in her stately CliftonLarsonAllen office, shielded by two huge access doors. Her majestic office holds neat stacks of books that capture the complex and ever-changing tax laws. The sternness of her discipline is softened by a sparkling limited-edition Disney wall print, “Light and Magic,” which shows Disney characters and the Matterhorn. “I like sparkly things,” she says.
Ann is known as a tour de force tax specialist. She ministers to people’s lives through numbers. The accounting specialist has informative advice to give students on how to get fair treatment during the tax season. She notes that students need to file for the American Opportunity Tax Credit where they can get a maximum annual credit of $2,500. “The best way for students to survive financially is to start saving at an early age, even before you get to college, and try to keep borrowing at a minimum. It is a lot harder to save when it comes to your last years in college rather than starting from the beginning,” Ann says. By taking on additional jobs in college or cutting expenses to a minimum, students can prevent overwhelming debt obligation after graduation.
Ann has assisted community members for more than 27 years with taxes and is, understandingly, very busy during the season. She takes pride in helping others achieve their goals and makes sure her clients are treated fairly.
Ann, who also goes by Mary Ann Quay, was born in the city of Claremont. During her fourth grade year, her family moved to La Verne, and she ultimately earned her diploma from Bonita High School, where she was involved in the Girls Athletic Association and earned the title of co-valedictorian of her graduating class. While she played many sports throughout high school, her favorite was badminton, which she continued into college. She competed in the U.S. National Championships in 1977 and the National Collegiate Women’s Championship while attending California State University, Cal Poly Pomona.
She strongly considered attending the University of La Verne. “My mother and her three brothers and one sister and foster sister, my uncle, aunts and cousins all attended the University of La Verne, so it seemed like an easy decision.” Nevertheless, Ann ultimately headed to Cal Poly to major in mathematics. “At the time, Cal Poly had a strong program for math majors, which was my major when I started college. Additionally, the cost was affordable, and I could live at home in La Verne while attending.” Despite her strong interest in math, she soon redirected her major to accounting. She passed her Certified Public Accountant exam before graduating from Cal Poly.
After receiving her bachelor of science degree in accounting, she headed on a new journey, taking classes from Golden Gate University in Los Angeles where she earned a master’s degree in business administration in taxation. “I have used the knowledge and research [from my degrees] and furthered my career as a Certified Public Accountant,” she says. She now works for CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, located in Glendora, specializing in tax planning and preparation for individuals, estates and trusts. She is also a licensed life and health insurance agent and is considered as an expert in Medicare issues. In addition, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pomona Valley Estate Planning Council and has been a member of the University of La Verne Board of Trustees since 1996. She is a past president of both the La Verne and Glendora Chambers of Commerce.
To take a break from the detail work of accounting and taxes, Ann heads to the greens. “The game of golf is based off control, balance and speed. It is a mental game,” she says. Ann met the love her life, Larry Davis, on the fairways. “I went to Las Vegas with a group to play in a golf tournament. It was organized by George Henderson, my friend from Sierra La Verne Country Club.” Larry Davis, a golf professional in Las Vegas, was also a friend of George. “I met my husband Larry playing golf when I was just starting out 20 years ago. He was an excellent golf instructor; our relationship developed along with my golf ability. If not for golf, I wouldn’t have him in my life, and I can’t imagine life without him.” The accountant and golf pro have been together ever since. The two started playing in local golf tournaments and have had success in many charity golf tournaments.
Another relaxing getaway for Ann and Larry is Walt Disney World in Florida. As members of the Disney Vacation Club, they go almost every year and play golf most of the days they are there. Her voice trails off. Right now, much of her life is on hold as she tends to her husband, who is in cancer remission. “He is getting better so that is good news. He is not out of the woods yet, but he is improving, so we are hopeful and optimistic.”
Ann is a valued member of the University of La Verne Board of Trustees Executive Committee, specifically overseeing audits and reviewing financial decisions. “She ensures that the financial integrity of the University is always sound, and that we are sustainable long into the future. She was on the Board when I was hired, and she was looking for a President who shared the same commitment to the community, to students, and to leading with head and heart,” says University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman.
Ann’s strong ties with the Church of the Brethren initially prompted her Board involvement. “She brings those values and integrity to everything she undertakes, whether her job, her personal life, or the Board of Trustees,” says Devorah. For most of La Verne’s history, there were a few Board positions elected by the Church of the Brethren Districts. “I’ve been a member of the La Verne church my whole life. I am very much supportive of the La Verne Church and its values,” she says. Her parents were members of the La Verne Church of the Brethren.
Following a change in Board policy regarding mandated church positions, Ann was asked to stay on as an executive committee member. “Ann is a caring and committed board member, who devotes her time, wealth, and expertise to our students and to the University. At Board meetings, Ann always has the courage to stand up for her convictions to make her voice heard for our students and for our University,” says Avedis Kechichian, University of La Verne chief financial officer.
Ann strives to watch out for student interests and says she is vocal about keeping tuition increases down. While she understands the reasons to keep up with other universities’ tuition costs, she notes that the rising cost of education is higher than inflation because colleges continue trying to compete with each other. Ann says that one of the nice things about the Board is that they are able to have good open discussions, even if their opinion is outside of the general consensus.
This philosophy is not lost on the president. “Mary Ann Quay Davis is a most valuable asset to and member of the Board of Trustees. Her commitment is to the whole student and whole University,” says Devorah.