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Mark Miller

Mark Miller - Distinguished Alumni

Education has always been a driving force for our distinguished alumnus, Mark Miller. Overcoming adversity, giving back to community, and celebrating his roots are what make him so worthy of this distinction.

Days after Mark was born, all strength left his body and his motor skills ceased to function. During his early life, Mark showed symptoms of amino acid deficiency syndrome, mild cerebral palsy and hypotonia or muscle weakness. Due to the severity of his health issues, some doctors recommended institutionalization for Mark. His pediatrician and a nurse from United Cerebral Palsy Center advised Mark’s parents to enroll him at the Center. At that time and prior to his second birthday, he became the youngest child to attend the Center in its history. The Center, now known as Achievement Academy, Inc., is where Mark reached milestones thought unattainable and grew in his abilities. This experience laid the foundation for his eventual and continued success.

Mark graduated from Lakeland High School in 1991. He earned his Polk State College Associate in Arts degree in 1994. Mark received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary English Education in 1997 from Southeastern University.

Mark has had a long-standing career in law and public finance. He currently serves as the Public Finance Paralegal for Harris Beach PLLC. Prior to this, he served for more than 21 years with Holland and Knight LLP.

What sets Mark apart is his passion for the Polk County community. For more than two decades, Mark has served in a variety of leadership capacities on non-profit boards and community groups focused on education, community engagement, and philanthropy. He has elevated conversations on education opportunities for children with intellectual and development disabilities, encouraged leadership roles for young Polk County professionals, and championed non-profit and philanthropic organizations. Representative examples of his commitment to leadership and community service throughout Polk County include Leadership Bartow (Class XIX Member), Leadership Polk (Class XI Graduate), Leadership Lakeland (Class XXXI Graduate), Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association (Board of Directors, Advisory Board), United Way of Central Florida (Démocratie Society, Community Investment Team, Board of Directors), Polk County Sheriff’s Office (Advisory Council), Engage Serves (Keynote Graduation Speaker), Emerge Serves (Class VII Graduate), Crystal Lake Elementary Community Partnership School (Community Action Team, Advisory Council), and Achievement Academy, Inc. (Board of Directors, Advisory Council).

Recognition of his service includes receiving the Spirit of Philanthropy Award (Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Polk County Chapter), Public and Charitable Service All-Star and Community Service All-Star (Holland & Knight LLP), Outstanding Employee Coordinator of the Year – Small Companies Award (United Way of Central Florida), John F. Schneider Volunteer Award (Achievement Academy, Inc.), and Community Champion (Lakeland Magic).

Throughout his life, Mark has triumphed through adversity to focus his life on serving others. Many have been recipients of his good will, philanthropy, and most importantly, presence. He is most grateful for the amazing people met and dear relationships formed along his journey.

His greatest accomplishments may well be being the favorite uncle to Blaine, Bailey and Maddison; and as a devoted son, brother, brother-in-law, nephew and cousin to his family.