All 1,200 free tickets went early, and the school told the media it could only record the first five minutes of the event - a restriction normally reserved for famous rock bands.
Gore talked specifically about global warming and ways to decrease the carbon footprint.
Duke said in a news release that it's "thrilled" to have the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner give the 2010 spring Duke Environment and Society Lecture.
Gore's speech was part of an ongoing free lecture series at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.
"Since the beginning of his career, Al Gore has been relentless in his quest to bring the truth about global warming to the world, even when the world wasn’t listening," said William L. Chameides, dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
But not everyone was thrilled to see him in the Triangle. Things got heated when a small group of protestors with NC Freedom showed up. They called Gore and his ideas a fraud.
"They've turned it around now and now we're going to be dead from heat," said Hans Mentha with NC Freedom. "We've got the last five or eight years with a climate change reversal do they acknowledge it? No. It's just a bump in the road to line their pockets with cash."
"The people who that tell Al Gore that he's a hypocrite ... I mean he might be flying a jet, but I think the message that he has is more important," Duke Grad Student Julie Colvin said.
After leaving office in 2001, Gore went on to write a bestselling book called "An Inconvenient Truth" about the theory of global warming. A movie made from the book received an Academy Award in 2007.
Gore's global warming advocacy earned him the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.