Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and students gathered in 111 Carroll Hall to celebrate the life and achievements of Bittner, who died April 9 at age 58.
"(Bittner) was an elegant writer and an insightful scholar," said journalism Professor Don Shaw, who shared his remarks and two poems via video.
Bittner was the School of Journalism and Mass Communication's James H. Shumaker Term Professor, as well as head of the electronic communication sequence in the journalism school.
In total, Bittner devoted 22 years of his life to the University, said Richard Cole, dean of the journalism school.
"He loved teaching, and he was rewarded for teaching excellence several times," Cole said.
Other speakers praised Bittner's more personal qualities.
Beverly Long, a communication studies professor, said Bittner was a faithful friend who always praised her accomplishments and knew how to comfort others.
"John Bittner had a marvelous habit of making people feel special," Long said. "When he walked into a room, it was a moment of affirmation."
In recounting memories of Bittner, speakers focused mainly on his love for family, his fascination with writer Ernest Hemingway and his enthusiasm for teaching and the University.