- Guggenheim Fellow (1939)
- National Academies (1938)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
Leland McClung came to IU Bloomington in 1940, a year after he received the Guggenheim Fellowship in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He excelled as a professor, administrator, and researcher at IU. He was internationally known for his research on anaerobic bacteria. He created and led the Department of Bacteriology for 25 years, which has now evolved into the microbiology program. In addition to building a model curriculum, he recruited prominent scientists for the department; the first faculty member he hired, Salvadore Luria, became a Nobel Laureate in 1969. The L.S. McClung Scholarship in the Department of Biology was established in 1987 by Cornelius F. Sterling. Sterling was the first IU undergraduate to receive a degree in bacteriology, the precursor to the current microbiology program. The award honors McClung, who was chair of the bacteriology department when Sterling was a student. The scholarship is available to in-state microbiology majors who excel academically and plan to work in the field of or pursue a graduate degree in microbiology.
According to Gary Sojka, former chair of biology, "Professor McClung's administrative talents were widely recognized, appreciated, and sought after outside Indiana University." Among his many esteemed positions, McClung was vice president of the Society of Industrial Microbiology in 1958, president of the National Association for Biology Teachers in 1965, and archivist for the American Society for Microbiology. He also conducted numerous highly acclaimed summer institutes supported by the National Science Foundation that trained high school biology teachers in microbiology. Because of his experience running these institutes, the NSF later asked him to serve as a consultant to Taiwan and India. In 1980, he was awarded an honorary membership to the American Society of Microbiologists, one of the society's highest distinctions.
McClung passed away in Bloomington, Indiana, on May 9, 2000.