Bernhard Ehrenzeller was born on 5 September 1953 in St. Gallen.
Bernhard Ehrenzeller used to spend a lot of time on his uncle's farm during his school holi-days, which was why he originally wanted to become an agronomist. After graduating from the Karl Borromäus College in Altdorf, however, he decided to study law at the University of Fribourg, from which he successfully graduated in 1977. In 1984 Ehrenzeller published his dissertation under the title Die Diözesankonferenz des Bistums Basel (The diocesan conference of the diocese of Basel), for which he received the ‘Professor Walther Hug Prize’.
In 1980 Ehrenzeller was admitted to the bar and notary's office in Solothurn. Until 1986 he worked as a legal secretary at the Department of Justice and Police in the Canton of Solothurn.
As part of his habilitation, Ehrenzeller studied and researched at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg (1987/88), at Harvard Law School in Cambridge/USA (1988/89) and at the Institut suisse de droit comparé in Lausanne (1989/90). After his habilitation in comparative law entitled Legislative Power and Foreign Policy published in 1993, he taught as a Privatdozent (lecturer) at the University of Basel. At the same time, Ehrenzeller worked as a personal assistant to Federal Councillor Arnold Koller from 1991 to 1997.
In 1997 Bernhard Ehrenzeller was appointed Full Professor of Public Law at the University of St.Gallen. From 1998 to 2020 he was Director of the Institute of Legal Studies and Legal Practice (IRP-HSG) and from 2003 to 2011 he was Vice-President for Research.
Ehrenzeller is closely associated with legal practice and played an instrumental role in drafting the new Federal Constitution (1999), the new Education Constitution (2006) and the new Higher Education Akt (2011) in Switzerland. He is active as an expert, consultant and speaker on topics such as right to education, direct democracy, federalism, and government reform. He has been president of the University of St.Gallen since February 2020.
Bernhard Ehrenzeller served as Judge of the Liechtenstein Constitutional Court from 2011 to 2019. He is married and has two children.