Dr. Donald Raymond Songer, a longtime USC faculty member and political science professor, passed away Sunday at the age of 70 after a long battle with lung cancer. In an email shared with political science students on Monday, fellow political science professor Dr. Kirk Randazzo listed some of the achievements Songer had achieved during his tenure at the university, which began in 1986.
“Don was a remarkable individual with a monumental impact on the field of judicial politics,” Randazzo said. “He was a pioneer in many different aspects and always challenged us to become better. His research challenged scholars to first think beyond the U.S. Supreme Court and later beyond the U.S. Itself. And the training and mentoring he provided to his students and friends was beyond measure and challenged us to become better teachers and scholars ourselves. It was precisely for these qualities that he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in September from the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. The world has lost an amazing individual.”
According to Dunbar Funeral Home’s obituary and his USC bio page, Songer was born in Miami, Florida,and was the son of the late Gerald Raymond Songer and Elizabeth Curran Songer. He went on to graduate as Salutatorian in his graduating class at Miami High. He graduated from the University of Florida where he received a B.A. and M.A. in political science. Songer went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1975 and served as a faculty member for Oklahoma Baptist University before his arrival at USC.
In addition to the achievements of Songer’s that Randazzo listed, he also brought nearly $2 million in research grants to the university, helped USC’s public law program become ranked in the top five in the United States and guided graduate students to become educators themselves at higher learning institutions across the country.
A Celebration of Life for Dr. Songer will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, at Ashland United Methodist Church at 2600 Ashland Road, Columbia, SC 29210.
Songer is survived by his wife of 41 years, Valorie Marlow Songer, two children, a grandson, a brother and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ashland United Methodist Church or to National Parks Conservation Association.