The bequest totaled more than $540,000, the largest gift the school has ever received. Marylee Sturgis was an alumna of the seminary. To gain a deeper understanding of her Christian beliefs, Ms. Sturgis took classes at the school after her retirement as a librarian at the University of Virginia and Princeton University.
Ms. Sturgis was a member and active leader of the Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. To honor her memory, the John Leland Center cosponsored a Bible conference in her church in June of 2016.