- Guggenheim Fellow (1966)
- Guggenheim Fellow (1961)
- Fulbright Award (1960)
Felix Oinas began his career at IU Bloomington as a lecturer in Russian in 1950. After completing a Ph.D. in linguistics at IU in 1952, he was hired as an assistant professor of Slavic studies (1955). He was appointed to the faculty at the Graduate School in 1956, promoted to associate professor in 1961, and became a fellow of the Folklore Institute in 1963. He was promoted to associate professor of Uralic and Altaic studies in 1964, was named a Guggenheim Fellow in folklore and popular culture in 1961 and 1966, and was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes grant for study and research in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1965). He was promoted to full professor that same year. He retired from IU in 1981, and was named professor emeritus of Uralic and Altaic studies and Slavic languages and literatures soon after.
Oinas received an M.A. in Finno-Ugric, comparative literature, and folklore from Tartu University in 1938. Before fleeing to Germany in 1945, he taught Estonian, did research on Hungarian literature, and translated works in Hungarian and Estonian. While in Germany, he studied Slavic linguistics and literature before leaving for America in 1949. He was hired by Wayne University (Detroit) as a research assistant in the Slavic department, where he worked for one year before moving to Bloomington to teach Russian, work at the Folklore Institute, and begin his pursuit of a Ph.D.
Oinas received numerous national and international accolades during his 30-year career. He was elected a foreign member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences (1977), awarded the Kalevala medal from the Finnish government (1985), and awarded the Order of the State Coat of Arms, II class (1998), the highest Estonian civil honor.
Oinas passed away on September 25, 2004, in Bloomington, Indiana, at the age of 93.