Adrian Perry, who retired from Lambeth College last year, oversaw its creation following the merger of three institutions after he was appointed in 1992.
He has brought about a transformation in thecollege's fortunes despite well-off aspirational parents sending their children out of the deprived south London borough.
While regarded in some quarters as a "dynamic" principal, it is a term he rejects, along with other bits of terminology which have become part of the language of post-incoporation FE.
"I could talk about it in terms of having a 'vision', but really it isn't like that," he once told FE Focus. "It is down to a lot of hard work and making sensible decisions over a long period of time."