50 Notable Alumni

Ronald Endsley

Resident Director, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management a Bank of America Corporation, Champaign, Illinois

Business Administration


After graduating from Unity High School in 1964, Ron worked at Eisner Warehouse until he was drafted.  He became a US Army Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.  When he returned home, he worked at Illinois Power Company and then as a lineman with the Eastern Illinois Electric Cooperative.  He studied nights and weekends to obtain his insurance licenses in property, life and health.

In 1972, Ron decided to quit his job and continue his education at Parkland College.  He attended Parkland College on the GI Bill and was therefore required to take a full load of coursework.  This limited his time for insurance sales and was a bold move considering he had a new house, new car and a family, which included three children under the age of three, to support.

Nonetheless, Ron graduated from Parkland College.  He opened his own real estate and insurance agency which he maintained for ten years.  In 1984, a friend of Ron’s convinced him to start a different career as an Investment Representative.  He began his new career at Edward Jones and Company before moving on to A.G. Edwards and Stifel Nicolaus.   In 2012, Ron joined the local Merrill Lynch Wealth Management branch as a Financial Advisor and currently serves as the Resident Director of the branch as well as Vice President.

Ron has been a member of the Champaign West Rotary Club since 1989 and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  He served as Campaign Chairman for the United Way of Champaign in 1999, during which he and his team achieved a record breaking year. He currently serves on the United Way’s Planned Giving Committee. Ron credits his work ethic and his disciplined “never-quit” attitude to the values that were instilled in him by both his parents and his proud service in the United States military.

Ron is grateful to Parkland College for the wonderful education he received. Parkland College was a life changing opportunity that allowed him to achieve beyond his dreams.