Educator travels world but calls Valley Center home
October 31, 2013Growing up female in eastern Tennessee, it never occurred to Ann Quinley that she wouldn't go to college or have a career. Yet it was a plan few girls shared in those days.
The Valley Center resident, college professor and administrator has always gravitated toward roles where leadership is required, with profound success. Serving as vice chair of the Valley Center Planning Group and president of the Valley Center Democratic Club, Quinley reflects on the path that led her to this pastoral place she now calls home.
Anne Quinley poses in Moscow for a photo. She and her husband Hal have traveled to six of the seven continents. Photo courtesy of Hal Quinley
Nurtured by her Pennsylvania-born father who was both an intellectual and a regional planner for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Quinley points to his impact on her life. "He helped me realize my ambition at a time when most women didn't do anything professionally," she said. "He shaped my world view and I adored him.
"My dad often said to me, 'Don't take out your frustrations on others; they have frustrations of their own,'" she added. "That is wonderful advice to live by."
An admitted tomboy, Quinley spent her childhood trail riding, climbing trees and hiking. Dinner table conversation centered on politics, urban planning and civil rights.
"Race was a huge issue in those days," she said. "Growing up there made me long for a place where books, ideas, diversity and equality were accepted and part of the culture."
Getting her bachelor's and doctorate in political science were natural progressions. It was at Stanford University that she met her husband, Hal, a fellow Ph.D. student.
The couple married and moved to New York City, where they each got jobs teaching political science at colleges there.
When coordinating academic careers in the same location became too difficult, her husband decided to parlay his teaching experience into commercial research, at Yankelovich Partners where
he directed polling for TIME magazine and CNN. Quinley opted for a career in university administration. She served as director of admissions for the City University of New York and the University of
Connecticut. She went on to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she became the dean of academic support services. Next, she took on the role of vice president and dean of students at Pomona College where she spent nearly 20 years. She also taught political science for many years.
"I like aspects of both administrat i on and teaching," she said. "As an administrator, it is interesting to shape the out-of-classroom life of students, creating programs that allow them to take leadership roles and make decisions. As a teacher, it is a thrill to see students come alive to new ideas and new understanding of the world."
These days, Quinley teaches at Pomona College and is in the middle of revamping her course for the upcoming semester, an analysis of public policy that will touch on the new healthcare law.
"I am someone who enjoys new ideas," she said.
Curiosity has been the underpinning of her career and personal life. A world traveler, Quinley and her husband have made their way through six of the seven continents, spectator to opulence and poverty.
She has sat beside gorillas in Rwanda , traveled through China, trekked the foothills of Mt. Everest, took horseback safaris in Botswana and sailed the Amazon. This summer, she and her husband will return to Africa, to Zimbabwe and Botswana. She and a friend will hike and canoe in Glacier National Park, their third in a series of national park visits.
Whether home or away, Quinley seeks the outdoors to feel centered.
" I love the rural, uncrowded aspect of living here in Valley Center," she said. "The fact that you can have animals and have so much space to enjoy them. I have made good friends here and one in particular who I believe will be a friend for life."
Finnegan and Zoey, her two Jack Russells, receive an abundance of attention, as does, Gracie, her thoroughbred horse, whom she rides a couple of times a week.
"I have had a wonderful career and a wonderful life," said Quinley, who has no plans to slow down.