Born May 28, 1948, in Independence Missouri, she received her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Missouri (1970), and both an M.A. and Ph.D in Spanish Literature from the University of Kentucky (1982).
After a brief teaching stint as an Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature at Kalamazoo College, Hittinger served for more than 35 years as a professor and scholar at The University of Tulsa. A devoted teacher and colleague, she was twice chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Comparative Literature, and twice chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Her courses included “New Testament as Literature,” “Old Testament as Literature,” “Paul and Early Christianity,” “Council of Nicea,” “Monasticism and Mystic Writing” and “The Sacred Feminine.” She was recognized as University Outstanding Teacher in 1986 and awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award by Henry Kendall College in 1992. Her care of the Rita and Will H. Bell Lecture and her advisory work for the Gilcrease Museum are only two examples of her service to the Tulsa community.
For her moral and professional integrity, she was loved and respected by two generations of colleagues and students. Upon her retirement in 2017, she became Professor Emerita of TU.
Hittinger enjoyed an international reputation for her work in Carmelite Studies, particularly for her translations of John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love (1995), and for her groundbreaking book Elijah Prophet of Carmel (2003). Her research was supported by the National Government of Spain, the Ford Foundation, and Fordham University.
She leaves behind her beloved husband Francis Russell Hittinger III, who is the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies at The University of Tulsa.