Dr. Francis Springer, prominent Lutheran minister and educator for a number of years, was mainly responsible for changing the ten-year-old Hillsboro Academy to Lutheran College, the first church-supported institution of its kind in the state.
In 1846 when the Rev. A.A. Trimper resigned as pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church to become superintendent of the Academy, Dr. Springer was chosen to succeed him. The Rev. Springer became president of the large Lutheran Synod and the leader in establishing a church college here under the name. "Literary and Theological Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Far West."
For five years, from 1847 to 1852, Dr. Springer served as president of Lutheran College and as pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The Rev. Trim per was his assistant in charge of operation of the school.
After the Lutherans ceased to operate their school here and opened what was called Illinois State University in Springfield, Dr. Springer became president of that university.
He later returned to Hillsboro and served as county commissioner of schools from 1874 to 1878 while operating at the same time the Hillsboro Academy as an independent high school.