Police said a woman was jogging around 7 a.m. on Duke University's Al Buehler Trail, near Cornwallis Road and the Washington Duke Inn when she was grabbed from behind by a man.
The suspect tried dragging the woman into a nearby wooded area, but she was able to get away and suffered only minor injuries.
Authorities are currently searching for the suspect who was described as a light-skinned man in his late 20s to early 30s, with a medium build, standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall.
He was last seen wearing black pants, a black tank-top, white shoes and a red baseball cap.
Duke and Durham police are investigating. Duke police have also notified students, faculty and staff about the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Duke University Police Department at (919) 684-2444.