Hugh Logan, principal of Motherwell College, one of Scotland's largest with 17,000 students, expressed his delight at a positive report which said leadership was "very effective" and "took good account of the college's environment and the needs of the local community".
Teamwork is strong at all levels and overall the college is "managing well and improving the quality of its services for learners".
At Jewel and Esk in Edinburgh, inspectors found that "the principal provided clear, purposeful and businesslike leadership and direction and was supported by an effective senior executive team".
Staff appreciate the personal encouragement and support offered by Howard McKenzie.
Mr McKenzie did not hold back. "I am overjoyed with the positive review the college received. It is clear from the outcome that all areas of activity within the college have made significant progress over the past four years.
The review is a great independent confirmation of what our students have been saying - a Jewel and Esk education is a solid foundation for success at work or university."
Echoing the upbeat message, Mr Logan added: "As one of Scotland's largest colleges we strive to be at the forefront for innovation and sector-leading practice and it is deeply rewarding to be recognised by HMIE for achieving this goal."
As ever in inspection reports, there is scope for improvement. Motherwell is encouraged to do more to prevent students from dropping out of courses in care, computing, electrical and electronic engineering and in hairdressing, beauty and complementary therapies. Attainment was low in a few programmes across the college.
At Jewel and Esk, among a raft of recommendations, inspectors want the college to introduce "rigorous arrangements for monitoring academic standards". It needs to work on curriculum direction, standards in assessment and the quality of learner experience.