Rev. Dr. Harris T. Travis
AUTHOR EDUCATOR SPEAKER
Rev. Dr. Harris T. Travis is a gospel preacher, pastor emeritus, author, leader in education, accomplished engineer and a humanitarian. His favorite Scripture is Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
Rev. Dr. Travis confessed Jesus Christ as his Savior at an early age and became a member of the St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church, Sneads, Florida. His Christian training began at home under the leadership of his God-fearing mother. Prayer was an important part of their family training. He recalls, boldly, their “wash sessions,” where he joined his mother on the scrub boards, scrubbing, praying, and praising the Lord. “Those are the gatherings that provide the godly glue that seals your faith in God. How wonderful it was and is for those families that still pray and praise the Lord together!”
Rev. Dr. Travis received his primary and secondary education through the public education system of Jackson County, Florida. Recognizing the value of education as well as hard work, he was encouraged to attend college. He attended Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida and later earned a B.S. degree from Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee (1960); a Master’s degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (1972); and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (1976). In between these accomplishments, Rev. Dr. Travis recognized his calling to the gospel ministry and entered the Indiana Bible College for further study of God’s Word.
Answering The Call
Rev. Dr. Travis was called to his first church, New Faith Missionary Baptist Church in 1978 after serving as an assistant under several pastors. In 1982, he relocated to Marietta, Georgia to accept the position of Vice President of Academics at Southern Polytechnic State University. He immediately joined Zion Baptist Church under the pastorate of Rev. Robert L. Johnson (deceased). Rev. Dr. Travis became the Senior Pastor of Zion in 1992. He worked bi-vocational as both an academic vice- president and pastor from 1992 until 1998, when he retired from the university and became the full time Senior Pastor of Zion Baptist Church. Under his leadership from 1992 through his retirement in 2016, Zion grew from approximately 400 members to approximately 2600 members. Additionally, Zion’s property holdings increased from a 4,000 square foot building to a complex spanning 98,000 square feet.
Prior to becoming Zion’s senior pastor, Dr. Travis enjoyed a distinguished career in engineering and education. While at Purdue University, he rose from the rank of assistant professor to full professor and department chairperson. From 1960 to 1972, he worked at the Naval Avionics Facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving in several engineering capacities. He received four national awards from the American Society of Engineering Education; was made a fellow in the Society in 1993; and was among a select few individuals awarded the society’s Centennial Medallions during its centennial celebration. Additionally, he received the society’s James H. McGraw Award as an outstanding engineering technology educator and the Chester F. Carlson Award for innovation in engineering education.
Awards and Accolades
His national and local awards are numerous, including Purdue University’s National Society of Black Engineers “Outstanding Professor” award. In 1980, Indiana Christian University conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Theology. While at Naval Avionics, he received the “Superior Accomplishment Award,” the “Outstanding Employee Award,” and the “Pride Award.” In 1991, Purdue University conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Technology.
Locally, Rev. Dr. Travis is a recipient of the Cobb County NAACP “President’s Award” and the Zion Baptist Church and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Martin Luther King “Freedom Award.”
Inspiration, "Overcoming" and Family
In 2016, Rev. Dr. Travis authored his first book, “Overcoming: I Count It All Joy.” He is married to Mrs. Georgia Allen Travis. They are the proud parents of seven children (Gail, Stephanie, Melvin, Verdonna, Reginald, Cheryl and Eric) and the blessed grandparents of eight.