His job is due to disappear next year, but David Sherlock had the consolation of being among those in further education to receive New Year's honours.
The chief inspector of the Adult Learning Inspectorate, who also writes for FE Focus, received a CBE for services to lifelong learning in this year's list.
Despite Mr Sherlock's concerns, the merger of the Office for Standards in Education Ofsted with the ALI, which is responsible for post-19 education in colleges, private training firms and in the workplace, was confirmed at the end of last year.
In his column for FE Focus, he described himself as feeling like King Canute when the possibility of a merger was raised.
The ALI was founded five years ago and completed around 4,000 inspections, but also made a name for itself with a willingness to confront government.
It told colleges in 2004 that they must be more ready to "say no" to its demands.
College principals who received OBEs included David Linnell, who runs John Leggott college in Scunthorpe. He was nominated for a DfES Star award for leadership in 2004.
Ann Robinson, principal of the highly academically successful Woodhouse college in north London, was also awarded an OBE.
Others who received OBEs included Christopher Moyes, chief executive of the Go-Ahead group who also chairs Go-Skills, the sector skills council for passenger transport, and Rhiannedd Pratley, former executive director of the Basic Skills Agency in Wales.
Among those receiving MBEs for services to further education were Maureen Mellor, vice-principal of Liverpool community college and Van Barrett, who runs the Alternative Skills for Life programme at Stoke-on-Trent college.
Hussain Ahmed, training adviser at Halton college in Warrington, was awarded an MBE for services to further education in the UK and abroad.
Peter Bird, a governor at Dearne Valley college in South Yorkshire, received the same honour.