Jim Sauter ’99 Shares How Phi Delt Influenced His Life

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From Creating Memories Together to Sharing Life Lessons

We recently asked alumni to share their Phi Delt story, and James Sauter ’99 had a lot to say. For him, there’s no shortage of good memories, like hiking the Grand Canyon and going to concerts with his brothers. There’s definitely no doubt in his mind that his Phi Delt years shaped his life.

Q: What are your favorite memories from Phi Delta Theta?
A: I always loved Mash Bash, which was about 700 people camping together. It was always a wild night where a few of us just pushed through until the next day. We went fishing and had bonfires, and we would always end up swimming after all was said and done. We never had a mash bash that wasn't a top 10 party for any of us.

Going active was a great memory. OSU football games were always a rowdy time and still are for me and the alumni. We also traveled to many away games.

One time, about 15 of us headed to Phoenix for spring break to see a Phi that moved there: Christian Hipkiss ’97. Christian is back in Columbus now and his family and mine eat dinner together about twice a month. We hit Phoenix, Vegas, and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon looking for trouble. We found plenty—with no arrests or major injuries.

I think my roommates and I spent about $3K a year at La Bamba, a burrito joint that was open until 3AM. We would go there after the bars, when we were studying and needed dinner, and for lunch. No surprise they went out of business a few years after we graduated. Good food though. They still have locations on some big 10 campuses and near Butler, and we seek it out when we can.

New Orleans Jazz Fest was a big one. The Ark Band Concert at our house. The Menus concert at our house. So many concerts. I could go on and on.

Q: What brother(s) have most positively influenced your life? 
A: My older brothers were both in the house before me so I would start with them. My big brother Chris Duger ’94, was a huge mentor in my college years. There are really too many to mention. My friend AJ McPherson ’97 was my best man and I was his. Same with our wives! I could go on and on; too many to name. I am blessed to know guys in my class and in both of my older brother's; so the amount of influence, support, and guidance I've had in life from them all is tough to describe.

Q: In what ways did Phi Delt impact or shape your life?
A: I travel a lot for work—there is no city where I don't have an old friend to see and catch up with. Socially, the house gave me a lot of confidence at a young age that helped me in my personal and professional life from then, until now and moving forward. Academically, those years were the best grades I ever had. Not to be cheesy, but brotherhood and ritual are still very important to keeping me balanced. You can't be successful living in a bubble. There is a pride that comes with the memories and comradery—it makes you feel powerful being part of something bigger than yourself.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any brothers? Who and how?
A: Absolutely. In person, on the phone, through email, through travel, and planning time together as well. We are all getting together for the OSU/Army game next year. Guys are coming from California, Denver, New York, Philly, Saint Louis, North Carolina, etc. We are hoping to make this a tradition: home game one year, away game next, and then repeat.

Q: What has been the best part of the alumni experience for you?
A: Continued leadership, comradery and support.

Want to get in touch with Jim? You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..