Nation hosts university figure (6)
I believe the answer is:
'figure' is the definition.
(statue is a kind of figure)
'nation hosts university' is the wordplay.
'nation' becomes 'state' (synonyms).
'hosts' means one lot of letters goes inside another (inserted letters are welcomed or hosted).
'university' becomes 'u' (abbreviation for university).
'state' going around 'u' is 'STATUE'.
(Other definitions for statue that I've seen before include "bust", "See figure", "Figurine", "Three-dimensional representation", "Stone figure".)