There are a number of people who work behind the scenes on the University of Mississippi campus. As the new house mother of Alpha Omicron Pi, Karen Baker Gaddis plays a vital role in making sure the sorority properly functions for its members.
Her duty is to make any repairs needed in the house, plan the menu and run the household.
“My favorite part of my job is, 100 percent, the girls, and to be able to connect with them,” she said. “It has been an absolute blessing to be here.”
Gaddis said she enjoys working with college students, because it differs from her previous job as a high school librarian. She said it’s a different dynamic, but better.
Heidi Franz, a UM sophomore and Pledge Class 2015 member, said they enjoy having Gaddis in the house.
“Mama G. is a delight to have in our house,” she said. “She is very personable, and her door is always open. The sisters of AOII are so lucky to have her.”
Gaddis said her favorite part of being an AOII now and in college is the bond created with fellow sisters. She remains in contact with some of her college friends, and she is looking forward to their visit.
Born and raised in Kentucky, Addis attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where she was an AOII. She majored in Spanish with a minor in French, and has a master’s degree in education.
Gaddis worked as a librarian at Daviess County High School in Owensboro, Kentucky for 20 years and as a substitute teacher for 10 years.
As a young girl, her role model was her high school Spanish teacher, and her goal was to become a teacher or librarian.
Gaddis is currently looking for a Baptist Church to attend in Oxford. Her hobbies include reading, going for walks, sewing and quilting.
She is known for making T-shirt quilts. She takes old T-shirts and sews them into a quilt or blanket. She has made several, including the quilt pictured above made from her late father’s shirts. It was a gift to her brother after the passing of both her parents.
Gaddis is now working on her first red and blue apron to wear at the AOII house, made from one of her Ole Miss shirts.
Gaddis enjoys traveling. She has been to the Caribbean islands, Spain, and her favorite destination, so far, was her mission trip to Haiti last summer. On the weekends, Gaddis spends her free time with her granddaughter.
Gaddis offered the following advice for UM students: “Always put God first. Work hard, set a goal and accomplish it. Look for the positive in everything.”