Irma Lerma Rangel, a champion of education and trail blazer, pioneered first roles for women. She was the first Mexican American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives on Nov. 1976. Rangel, a Democrat, represented the Forty- ninth legislative district for 26 years and authored bills that included educational opportunities for all children.
One of her legacies for her was the landmark bill transforming Texas higher education by guaranteeing college admission to high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes in 1997. The State Representative also passed a bill creating the first professional school in South Texas-Texas A&M Health Science Center-the Irma Rangel College of Pharmacy. The pharmacy school, located on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus, and opened on August 2006.