Irma Rangel (1931-2003) was the first Mexican American woman to serve in the Texas Legislature and credited with helping pass the top 10 percent rule, aimed at increasing minority enrollment at Texas public universities.
Rangel was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1976 and served her South Texas district for 26 years. She was the first and only woman to chair the Mexcian American Legislative Caucus (MALC).
House Speaker James E. "Pete" Laney appointed Rangel chair of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education in 1995. There, Rangel joint-authored legislation creating Texas grant programs, which have allocated millions of dollars in financial support to low-income students.
In response to the Hopwood v. Texas decision, which ended affirmative action at all state colleges and universities, Rangel pioneered landmark legislation in 1997 known as the "Top Ten Percent Rule", which requires state colleges and universities to automatically admit all students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The rule was amended in the 2009 session.
In her last legislative session, Representative Rangel passed a bill creating South Texas’ first professional school—the school of pharmacy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Rangel died in 2003 after a battle with cancer. Shortly after her death, elected officials in both parties named a new pharmacy school, the Irma Rangel School of Pharmacy at Texas A&M-Kingsville, after her.