- Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1974)
- Fulbright Award (1956)
Frances Ellis graduated with honor from Indiana University and spent her life making scholarship and the nurture of scholars the focus of her life. Beginning first as a high school teacher in Indianapolis, she went on to have a thirty-five year career on the faculty at IU, winning the regard and affection of all her students.
Ellis' research led to numerous articles and reviews, earning for her the distinction of being the first woman on the University's faculty to be awarded a Fulbright Research grant. Elected by her colleagues, Ellis held leadership posts in most of the organizations in which she held membership.