2015 Inductee

Central Florida Sports Hall of Fame
2015 Hall of Fame inductee John Dunlap

George W. Harris Jr.

George W. Harris Jr. was born in Tampa, Florida in 1934 and moved back to Florida at the age of 25 from Americas, GA after serving on the USS Bushnell as a disbursing officer. Upon his return to Florida, Mr. Harris settled in Bartow, and he served as the CEO and chairman of the board of Citrus & Chemical Bank, in Polk County.

Known for his participation in civic activities and philanthropic endeavors, Mr. Harris served as a member of the board of directors of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Harris also served as president and director of the Florida Bankers Association, chairman and a member of the board of trustees of Polk Community College, a member of the Supreme Court of Florida Judicial Council and on the board of governors of the Polk Museum of Art. George Harris was also active in the Bartow Kiwanis Club and Bartow Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Harris was recognized for his selfless serving of the community and contributions to the betterment of Polk County by being honored with the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award by the Bartow Lions Club, the Lifetime Achievement Award by Polk County Public Schools, the Distinguished Service Award by the Florida Bankers Association and in 2003 he received the George Jenkins Award from the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.

In January 2004 the Bartow Leadership Award was renamed to the honor George Harris, and his efforts to help at-risk youth were recognized by the naming of the George W. Harris Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Center in Bartow. Bobby Downs John Dunlap George W. Harris Jr