Mahato was found shot to death, Friday in his apartment, south of the Duke campus. He was an Engineering grad student from India.
"This was a gentle, warm young man who would be ... it's terrible for anyone," Duke Student Affairs Vice President Larry Moneta said. "This is someone, though, who really was endearing and quickly established a relationship with a number of people."
The Duke community paused Sunday to pray for the slain student.
"At the chapel service there was a brief memorial element with the Hindu community participating," Moneta said. "We're in the process of working with that community to create a more substantial memorial."
Mahato's personal Web site proclaims his love for the places her grew up, where he learned about the larger world and for the family who inspired him to achieve.
"This is someone whose pride and enthusiasm and love for his participation in this community was so apparent. It just makes the loss that more difficult," Moneta added.
Durham police say they know someone knows what happened inside the apartment and they need to hear from that person, if they are going to solve this case.
"Please, call CrimeStoppers, call Duke police, call Durham police. Anybody who has an inkling because this is very important to us, to bring resolution and closure to this terrible, terrible tragedy," Moneta pleaded.