Whitney lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, having moved to the state upon graduation to complete a PhD in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at Hamilton, Whitney was an English major, spent his Junior Year at the University of Paris, and had a radio show using the core of a jazz record collection that has expanded significantly through the years.
Whitney was an Instructor in English at UNC from 1967 to 1971, then Assistant Professor of English and Chairman of the English Department at St. Andrews University until 1977. He taught courses ranging from Shakespeare to Native American Literature, held several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and edited the St. Andrews Review.
In 1977 he moved to Winston-Salem to begin a career in non-profit consulting and fundraising, working with hundreds of non-profits across the South. His work in the field continues, concentrating in recent years on projects in the Carolinas. He has two children and four grandchildren by his first marriage, and he and his wife Suzanne have three children, the youngest adopted from Russia in 2003. They divide their time between Winston-Salem and a home in Blowing Rock with occasional family gatherings at the beach.