The university says Rebecca DeNardis and six other students were traveling in a van with the director of Duke's Outdoor Adventure program when it was struck by another vehicle.
DeNardis, 21, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Another student was air lifted to a hospital in Pensacola and is now in stable condition. A third student was treated and released.
Charges are pending against the suspected drunk driver who police say hit the students.
All were returning to campus after a canoeing and camping trip along Florida's Blackwater River during spring break.
DeNardis was double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. She was also a 2010 Cary High School graduate, who played soccer at the school and excelled in the classroom.
DeNardis father said his daughter was bright, talented, and planned to work for Google after graduating from Duke in May. Tragically, her dreams and aspirations were cut short.
"I'm just thinking...why her?" said Karli Miles, a former Cary High School classmate.
"She was just one of those people that had a beautiful soul," she added.
DeNardis father said the family and university are working together to hold a memorial event sometime in the future.