Gettler’s involvement with the University of Cincinnati extended well beyond his Bachelor’s degree. As a labor lawyer, the Gettler was hired to represent the university when the American Association of University Professors was attempting to unionize at the University of Cincinnati in 1977. Ultimately, the AAUP won, and Gettler negotiated the first contract with the union. During the affair, Gettler and University of Cincinnati President Warren Bennis travelled to Rutgers University to meet with a man named Henry Winkler to discuss how Rutgers had handled unionization at their university. Gettler and Bennis were so impressed with Winkler that they almost immediately hired him as Vice President, and shortly after that Winkler went on to become the President of the University of Cincinnati, a position which he served from 1977 to 1984.
He was later appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees in 1993 by Ohio Governor George Voinovich. Trustees are the governing body of the University of Cincinnati, of which there are 11 members. They are appointed by the Ohio Governor to serve a nine-year term. They are responsible for, among other duties, granting all degrees from the university, setting tuition, fees, and the budget, and appointing the President of the university. Gettler worked closely with University of Cincinnati President Joseph A. Steger, overseeing the construction of the new Main Street, the new DAAP building, the Performing Arts Village, the Albert H. Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, and Varsity Village. He served as Chairman of the Board from 2000-2002, and after appointing Nancy Zimpher to serve as University President in 2003, his term ended.